Animal Collective
Merriweather Post Pavilion


3.5
great

Review

by lonelyspacepanda USER (6 Reviews)
January 7th, 2009 | 22 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: MPP might be awash in the band's signature wall-of-sound production, hazy vocal melodies, and psych-pop hooks but it has a consistency and upfront manner that their previous efforts have strayed from.

Animal Collective have always been a faceless band. The media often mentions Avey Tare and Panda Bear as evolving, creative forces but its hard to tell where one's influence meets the other's restraint. Even their 2007 side projects did little to clear up where the divide resides not to mention if the other members have any weight at all. With Merriweather Post Pavillion, the curtain has been pulled back far enough so that we finally can at the very least see a silhouette; even Panda Bear's Young Prayer didn't feel so revealing. The group is still more of a gathering of sound magicians than honest-to-goodness songwriters, but that's the mystique that has always kept this band together.

MPP might be awash in the band's signature wall-of-sound production, hazy vocal melodies, and psych-pop hooks but it has a consistency and upfront manner that their previous efforts have strayed from. I wouldn't call MPP the band's defining statement, since AC are a group that has always strayed from absolutes and this album is no different. "In the Flowers" sounds like the Sigur Ros that "Gobbligook" teased us with, "My Girls" is Panda Bear's most blatant and best Beach Boys nod, "Lion in a Coma" must've escaped from one of Matthew Adam Hart's (from The Russian Futurists) dreams, and "Brother Sport" sounds like a tug-of-war between Cut Copy and El Guincho. If MPP has any consistent themes, it's in the details and whatever vague meta-concepts the listener applies to it (if one must).

In more ways than one, Avey Tare's lyrics paint MPP as the audible equivalent to Gus Van Sant's film Paranoid Park. Both of these artists have given us a window into teenage wonder and disillusion through an infant-like consciousness that lacks the proper human perception to make sense of the images and sounds he's surrounded by. MPP might be a bongload-friendly pop album to phase-out to, but one would easily miss Tare's insight that is essential to the overall experience. AC's songs have always dealt with childhood and wonder which gives the band a unique edge, but MPP is the first album that highlight's Tare's lyricism and gives the band a much more human connection that is perfectly backed by their more relaxed brand of eccentric pop. It often brings the band closer to My Bloody Valentine's 91' favorite, as the lyrics compliment or juxtapose the dreamlike surroundings rewarding those who desire to dig a bit deeper.

Writing about Animal Collective is always an endeavor that can only end up in failure. There is no right or wrong way in describing the experience of an AC album, as the music is always too dense and alien to fit within the confines of familiar connections or logical explanation. One could stoop so low as to describe album highlight, "Brother Sport", as Cut Copy doing reggaeton but they'd be missing everything in between, and Animal Collective have always been a band about the "in between". Many will continue to sing the praises of the album's transcendent verses and memorable pop choruses, but it's the fact that they retained their alien, faceless nature that makes MPP a marvel. Like an Animal Collective show, MPP often losses you in the frantic crowd, leaving you with only a blurred view of whoever is on stage and only the slightest idea of what instruments they used to create this voodoo. Certainly, not a laptop running Pro Tools!



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user ratings (2201)
Chart.
3.9
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
January 7th 2009


7026 Comments


Below 5? You will get chain negged, brother!

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

Willie
Moderator
January 7th 2009


16016 Comments


Nice review.
I'm sure the fact that I've never heard these guys makes me a bad person or something, but whatever... all this hype over this album is going to make me finally check them out, I guess.

Digging: Skrew - Universal Immolation

gaslightanthem
January 7th 2009


5209 Comments


yeah this is easily their best album ^_^

lonelyspacepanda
January 7th 2009


2 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I still stand by Feels.

I didn't get into it in my review, but I don't really agree with the consensus that this is Animal Collective's definitive album. Its good, and you can say its the best, but it feels like they did something different and succeeded at it. I don't agree that this is Animal Collective taken to the next level. I'd almost call them a different band. Anyone hearing this first will find Sung Tongs a shock to the system.

Sorry but the panda must rant every now and then.

magictikkleCwicked
January 7th 2009


272 Comments


Too many people are way too personal with their tastes these days.

rasputin
January 7th 2009


14546 Comments


I was shown a song by these guys on youtube and although the clip was cool, the song was pretty average.

StreetlightRock
Emeritus
January 7th 2009


3768 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I really like this review.

jontheatheist
January 7th 2009


79 Comments


Just because you don't know what instrument is playing what or he wrote what doesn't make it bad, it just makes the music more universal and less tied to someone or something.

Rudd13
January 7th 2009


952 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I can much more agree with this rating.. I love this band dearly and their heavily intense older noise, in my eyes, can never be matched in their more modern form.

The first and last songs on here were very inviting to listen the full way through, and it was surprising to recognize a lot of tracks as, what I suppose are "finished drafts" from a 2007 live NC set I've heard a couple times. These "undeveloped" live songs had an older feel in progression and background noise, as well as sported similar names as the final album versions. The sound quality was fairly good apart from the overshadowing audience but nonetheless, to me, the more odd and psychedelic live versions of the songs sounded better.

Campfire Songs, Here Comes The Indian and Spirit They've Gone.. are all modern experimental noise classics in my book. They upped the ante with Feels and that was a beautiful album as well.. It's very hard to simply ignore the effort in this album as a whole, so I shall continue to give Merriweather a listen. Very accurate summary and
Long live panda bear.

ClearTheLane
January 7th 2009


990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Grreeat review.
I'll give my final rating when the album is officially released. Right now I'm somewhere between 4 and 4,5.

gaslightanthem
January 7th 2009


5209 Comments


i'm between a 3.5 and 4.5 so i settled on a 4 for now

IAmInsect
January 7th 2009


3800 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i downloaded what was labeled as this but the file ended up actually being some 50s rock shit

Knott-
Emeritus
January 7th 2009


10197 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5 | Sound Off

^same

i WILL get this though

probably

natey
January 7th 2009


4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I got an album of Rick Astley goodness.

barbarian
January 16th 2009


341 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thank you for not giving another 5 star review. I find this album to be, along with Strawberry Jam, too overproduced for my taste. As the saying goes, sometimes less is more...

I much prefer the likes of Campfire Songs, Sung Tongs, and Feels.

I appreciate, however, the fact that Animal Collective continues to strive forward with their sound - that's one good thing I can say about this album. But these days there's more and more bands influenced by either the same or similar influences or rather by Animal Collective themselves.

I find the likes of The Acorn and El Guincho to be more enjoyable as well as more LISTENABLE than this particular release. And to me, LISTENABILITY means an awful lot.

But as much as I rag on this album, I believe I will still give it a 3.5 just as you did. :P

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2009


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

omg this is leagues ahead of el guincho and is far more LISTENABLEThis Message Edited On 01.16.09

Digging: Ricky Eat Acid - Three Love Songs

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 16th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Paranoid Park is such a brilliant film. I wish Gus Van Sandt was a more consistent filmmaker, he would probably be my favourite contemporary director. unfortunately for every Paranoid Park, you get a Gerry (I don't care what people seem to think it means, the film is just plain ass boring and pretentious). Thus, the nod goes to Danny Boyle.

I listened to My Girls, probably the first time I've ever gotten through an entire Animal Collective song without having to turn it off from being annoyed. I might check the rest of this out.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
January 16th 2009


15737 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

I don't understand your beef with AC, especially Feels, when you have Person Pitch at a 4.5.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 16th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I don't know, Person Pitch really grabbed me. Animal Collective never have. And also I've been meaning to down that rating, it's grown off me a bit.

thebhoy
Emeritus
January 16th 2009


4461 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

and by a bit, I mean I only listen to Comfy in Nautica, Bros and The 2nd half of Good Girl/Carrots.

ps. 'twas a mighty fine review.This Message Edited On 01.16.09



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