Review Summary: A work of art by a band with big visions, and even bigger creations.
Animal Collective is a hard band to describe. No matter if anyone likes or dislikes the band they cannot deny how unique they are. Their genera can range from indie to psychedelic to experimental all in one album. While the band did not invent this crazy mixture of musical elements, they are clearly a standout from many of the rest. Since their formation in the beginning of the new millennium to the present day, the band has been popping out kooky records like the Octo-mom. The bands seventh studio album Strawberry Jam
is no exception to the bands formula of crazy poppy yet ambient tunes.
, the opening track, begins with a wild electronic mix with a steady bass slowly building into rhythm leading to the drums, then guitar, then vocals that immediately set the album of fantastically. The electronic rhythm continues the rest of the song keeping it fun and upbeat. The vocals during the verses are mid-tempo and calm, but then get loud and howling . The bridge consists of vicious roaring vocals that sound like a demonic possession, but that demonic possession works, and it works great.
Continuing the upbeat feeling is the song Chores
. It begins with yodel-like singing when the beats suddenly jumping in. The song has many lyrics to it, but they primarily take a backseat to the beat the song has that jumps from being quiet and slow to loud and fast really quickly making it very attention getting and stands out strongly on Strawberry Jam
Bringing on the more ambient feeling is Cuckoo Cuckoo
. It begins with a very distant and alone feeling, with slow piano and vocals that sound like a whispering wind that are nearly impossible to understand what is being said. Then it transitions into just piano and more clear vocals. The song unexpectedly rips into a thundering guitar and the vocals getting louder, faster and more upbeat like those in Peacebone
. The song goes into a ravage clash of various instruments, then jumps back into the guitar, then back to piano, then once more back to the ambient sounds that opened it. Obviously the most interesting song on the album Cuckoo Cuckoo
begins, builds, and ends like magic.
While nothing can top what Cuckoo Cuckoo
brought, songs like Fireworks
and Winter Wonder Land
get pretty damn close. The latter opens with mumbled lines that jump quickly to upbeat and fast music that make you feel as if you are really in a Winter Wonder Land. The vocals are so quick they are nearly slurred, with rhythmic “ooooo’s” that fill in the spaces where lyrics a not. Continuing the overall fun the album brings.
After forty minutes of pure enjoyment, the album ends at what seems too soon. Closing with Derek
a song that is almost nothing but drums ends the album in a more mid-tempo way than Strawberry Jam
started. While not an overbearingly phenomenal track Derek
puts the period at the end of the sentence that is Strawberry Jam
. Except sentence may not be the right word though, maybe novel is more fitting, as the album is so strong it feels like a whole adventure that will tackle you at full force every time you listen.