Animal Collective
Prospect Hummer


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex Robertson STAFF
August 25th, 2009 | 28 replies


Release Date: 2005 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Prospect Hummer is Animal Collective's best EP, standing on its own rather than as a collection of album outtakes.

Animal Collective's 2005 EP Prospect Hummer could be seen as a kind of companion piece to their 2004 album Sung Tongs. Not yet reaching the mysterious full-band sound of 2005's Feels, the EP still retains the freak-folk sound of Sung Tongs. However, despite having the same instrumentation and general sound, the EP is far from a rehash of Sung Tongs. All this starts with Animal Collective's recruiting of folk legend Vashti Bunyan to record the EP with them. That she accepted truly attests to the project's importance; at the time, Bunyan had only recorded one album: 1970's Just Another Diamond Day (her second album, Lookaftering, would be released a few months after Prospect Hummer). Bunyan's voice, a wispy, delicate coo, would be ill-suited to the spontaneous and childish nature of Sung Tongs, so Animal Collective take after Panda Bear's 2004 album Young Prayer and cool it down a bit, showing an all-new side of Animal Collective. In the scheme of things, the EP is just one facet of a mind-bogglingly multi-faceted band.

Despite the fact that the first two songs are actually outtakes from the Sung Tongs sessions, Animal Collective adapt the songs to a different musical environment. "It's You," the best song on the album and one of the band's best to date, starts off with a whispery note by Bunyan, which is then backed up by seemingly endless layers of guitars. As the rest of the band join in and the guitars persist, the end result is a beautiful example of freak-folk at its best. Bunyan takes front stage here keeps the song pulsing, singing simplistic but effective lyrics in a softly mesmerizing voice. The title track is a little more reminiscent of Sung Tongs, improving on the dull "Kids on Holiday". Once again, Bunyan contributes vocals here, singing the delightful "woah woah woah" refrain along with the rest of the band. The song also features more of Animal Collective's admittedly inane lyrics, but Bunyan and the band sing them like they know exactly what they're talking about, and want to say it.

Even if Bunyan's appearance on the EP marks an important, if small, comeback for an extremely mysterious artist, this is still Animal Collective's EP. "Baleen Sample," the only track that doesn't feature vocals by Bunyan, is similar to Sung Tongs' "Visiting Friends," spreading out drone-ish background noise with incessantly strumming guitars. However, Animal Collective show restraint here: while the latter track went on for a monotonous twelve minutes, "Baleen Sample" barely breaks the five-minute mark. The track is still a little inaccessible for any unacquainted listeners, but is much easier to swallow than its Sung Tongs counterpart, and is overall a pleasant experience.

The fourth and final track on the EP, "I Remember Learning How to Dive," brings back Vashti Bunyan for a small folk ditty in classic Animal Collective style. The song is subtle but enjoyable, and a perfect summation of Prospect Hummer, for the most part only featuring guitars, Bunyan's multitracked vocals, and tapping percussion. Barely over two minutes, the song may seem a little slight, but it shows a simplicity in structure that is refreshing for Animal Collective: rather than letting the song wander and slowly come back to Earth, they make sure the song gets its job done, and end it there, before it travels anywhere unnecessary.

To call Prospect Hummer an innovation would be overzealous; rather, it takes a musical side of Animal Collective everyone knows, and dusts it off, showing that there's still some magic in those acoustic guitars, even after they've seemingly been used in every way possible by the band. With the recruiting of Vashti Bunyan, Animal Collective show that, while constantly creating new ways to make intriguing music, they respect and embrace their folk roots. While sometimes showing the slightest bit of bad habits on Animal Collective's part, Prospect Hummer is a triumph; instead of conforming to the role of a musical footnote like most EP's seem to, it stands on its own as an independent musical work.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2009


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

a little short bcuz EP

namedropping albums + awkward sentences 101

Knott-
Emeritus
August 25th 2009


10198 Comments


awesome review, pos

may have to check this out

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2009


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

jesus you're contributor now

kids these days

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 25th 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

surprised i haven't listened to this yet

Digging: Flying Lotus - You're Dead!

Douglas
August 25th 2009


9118 Comments


swell review... animal collective a meh to me though...

sgrevs
August 26th 2009


698 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

improving on the dull "Kids on Holiday".


Good review apart from that line. No way is that song dull.

EP is very good.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2009


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

haha, that's subjective so im not sure how that makes the review worse. but ok

Kiran
Emeritus
August 26th 2009


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

guhh, the only Animal Collective ep/lp I don't have

musicstinks
August 26th 2009


7 Comments


review isn't short your stupid

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dude kids on holiday is awesome wtf

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2009


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

it's good but

it just reminds me of 'prospect hummer' and i like that better

it's not a bad song by any means but probably not a standout on ST

Knott-
Emeritus
August 26th 2009


10198 Comments


still need to hear sung tongs ffs

robin
Emeritus
August 26th 2009


4249 Comments


whaddit i done is the standout of ST for me

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
August 26th 2009


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

whaddit i done is my least favorite song

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
January 2nd 2010


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

this is a beautiful release, and i take back the negative things i said about both 'kids on holiday' and 'whaddit i done' (comment above)


so good

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 19th 2010


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

woah woahwoahwoahwoah woahhhhhhhhhhhhhh

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
March 29th 2010


15050 Comments

Album Rating: 4.4

iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit's


youuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu


ps quad post

brutebeard
July 26th 2010


1655 Comments


The title track is fairly awesome... credit to Pandora for showing me

Ire
July 26th 2010


41795 Comments


I love Animal Collective

Zizzer
July 30th 2010


915 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I like the cat verse in "Prospect Hummer"



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