Animal Collective
Water Curses


3.0
good

Review

by Lewis P. STAFF
May 17th, 2008 | 85 replies | 10,314 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Good stuff thanklessly packaged.

With Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective had hit a sort of animalistic core as far as their stoner-pop was concerned. Coming off the backburner of the more lush and fully realized Feels, Jam felt slight and a little top-heavy, if still delicious and inviting. For what it was worth, it cemented Animal Collective as one of modern music’s freakiest pop outfits, extraneous and daring in the face of risks and dangers, dumped out of a boiling pot that surely had more left to spill. So enters Water Curses, a short and carefully measured EP that reaches high (and higher) but never really fully takes off.

This certainly is no fault of the songwriting, since Water Curses, and its title-track specifically, find Animal Collective at the top of their game. Bursting onto the scene with a fluid and exasperating pace, “Water Curses” is a complex but simple delight, made so by its erratic production of creaking floorboards, sonic-bound lasers, and bubbling waves. Collective by way of Panda Bear, “Water Curses” seems like the missing ingredient from the undercooked Jam, with Avey Tare complementing, not commanding a scene he knows all too well. He is, essentially, his own instrument, spurting out nonsense alongside the clash of cymbals with the greatest of ease. “I want to be like water and slip into your throat / and make you feel alive and good,” he sings at one point, and it’s a testament to the band that the invigorating “Water Curses” does just that.

So surely it’s the rest of the EP that falls short of such greatness? In close vicinity of such melodic upturn, it might seem that way. “Street Flash” brings the momentum to a screeching halt, whirling through scratches and a sultry doo-wop-wop pace to breach an unrelenting six-minutes. “Cobwebs” and “Seal Eyeing” never even try to fall back into a swing and instead grow gradually more sedated before ending on a fading piano. But on their own terms, each song in Water Curses is a small gem. “Street Flash” is beautiful and haunting, a story told through the sound clips of gasps and shrieks and coughs. Avey Tare sounds purely alien here, helped by a score that builds and wanes on a whim. The metronome block that begin “Cobwebs” maintain the momentum, the sounds of bubbling water and lazy synths poking vehemently at Avey Tare’s languished croak. When the song builds into a reverb-drenched climax, layered chants provoking a tribal atmosphere, it’s as pretty a moment as anywhere else.

And finally the production takes over on the piano ballad “Seal Eyeing,” bubbling and popping over the hollowed out score. In the right setting, the track could be one of Animal Collective’s most moving, if only for Avey Tare’s knowing and emotive performance. But the production does the ballad here wonders, giving a slight echo to every build and release until layers upon layers of keys meld together. It’s as good an example as any to prove that Animal Collective might never run out of ideas, which is part of the disappointment in Water Curses. In the right context, each and every song on the EP could help create another masterpiece; together, they lack flow or substance, and clash without purpose. Better off as highly recommended downloads, Water Curses sits just shy of being worth the price of admission, even if the individual tracks are.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
iarescientists
May 6th 2008



5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh i thought jungler's would review this

:/

londoncalling457
May 6th 2008



2590 Comments


I've been looking forward to his, but I thought it came out later in the month, guess not. I'll download this just because I need to hear anything Animal Collective-related and it sounds pretty good. Nice review as well.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 6th 2008



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Love the first song. Rest= meh

Digging: A Sunny Day In Glasgow - Sea When Absent

sgrevs
May 6th 2008



698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I like this quite a lot. Nice review.

slep
May 6th 2008



1604 Comments


Solid review. I haven't picked this up yet, but I intend to.

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
May 6th 2008



4926 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Love the first song. Rest= meh

seconded

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

PsilocybinNightmare
May 7th 2008



5 Comments


This was not very good, especially compared to Strawberry Jam. Good review though.

cbmartinez
May 7th 2008



2525 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

All of the songs are okay but to be honest I was hoping for more SJ-esque stuff. Kind of a letdown. Pretty tame for their standards too.

natey
May 7th 2008



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Could've used maybe another upbeat number but I like it a lot.

Broken Arrow
May 7th 2008



220 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The title track and Seal Eyeing are glorious. Cobwebs is also a very nice number. Street Flash is still good but isnt up to par with the rest.

brandtweathers
May 7th 2008



2007 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great review lewis. by far the most consistent of reviewers.
worried about buying this bc i really don't appreciate a lot of sj.
i guess i can't say that they don't swing for the fences on every track tho
(note:thanks for reviewing this so quickly)This Message Edited On 05.07.08

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2008



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

He had to be reminded!

The Jungler
May 7th 2008



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh i thought jungler's would review this



:/
lewis had this dibs-ed before I even knew it existed.
I don't like the title track as much as Street Flash, but those are both good. The other two I could give or take. Tight review as usual.


brandtweathers
May 7th 2008



2007 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i thought this was a big deal. why aren't there four pages of comments yet

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
May 7th 2008



15727 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's not that (and by that I mean Nine Inch Nails came out with a new release I will ejaculate through comments) big a deal.

brandtweathers
May 7th 2008



2007 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

well i guess that's obvious now.
i was pretty pumped but whatev
have you seen the video?

plane
Staff Reviewer
May 8th 2008



6085 Comments


every song on here is pretty good guys

corb
May 9th 2008



59 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i love the first two tracks

timothyzha
May 29th 2008



23 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

pretty nice overall. the title track is brill though.

Catchthe22
June 8th 2008



95 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i enjoy the two middle songs. Seal Eyeing is very weak on AC's part. Water Curses is very different for them and I respect that, but i dont think its for me.



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