Animal Collective
Strawberry Jam


4.0
excellent

Review

by Paul blart USER (13 Reviews)
December 3rd, 2009 | 20 replies


Release Date: 2007 | Tracklist

Review Summary: After all the dicking-around with "freak folk" and before the bloated "Merriweather Post Pavillion", Animal Collective blend a mix of sugar fueled, orchestrated, synth drenched pop gem that stands out as their best. Oddly enough, this is the only dance mu

Strawberry: noun.

1.(Any of various low-growing plants of the genus Fragaria, having white flowers and an aggregate fruit that consists of a red fleshy edible receptacle and numerous seed like fruitlets.)

2. (The aggregate fruit of this plant.)

Jam: noun.

1. (A preserve made from whole fruit boiled to a pulp with sugar.)

I'm sure you've all tasted the aforementioned concoction. A space age mass of neon brightness and sugar cane sweetness. So odd it is, that something so very natural lends it's flavors to something manufactured, packaged, and shipped to be held in tiny dishes at run down diners. However, I don't think those circumstances really get in the way of the taste; so naturally sweet yet so very manufactured.

It's hard to doubt that this album titles really describes the sound of this album in such a perfect way. Gone are Animal Collective's folky side, and enter a rush of sugar charged endorphins. Acoustic guitars are scarce, and instead replaced with buzzing synth, layers of spacey orchestras, and samples twisted and melded and melted all over the delicious bowl of...whatever this is. I'm not trying to make the AC guys sound like geniuses, but goddamn, can they sure write a pop song.

With "Strawberry Jam" I can safely say that I'm an Animal Collective fan. Though past albums have lulled me far too many times with "natural ambient" (what I mean by that is, slow, ambient like music played with acoustic guitars and REAL instruments), I can look past their mistakes and pick the sweet, sweet fruits from the tree of their labor, and goddamn are they fantastic. The doubled header of the singles "Peacebone" and "Fireworks" was enough to convince me these guys were fantastic. Both chug along at the same tempo, yet both feel distinctively different. "Peacebone" explodes in euphoric falsetto choruses, carnival keyboards, and a swirl of psychedelics mixing into one noxious, yet enticing mess. "Fireworks", on the other hand, is a bit more understated, yet the feeling is there. The feeling of riding that song on a roller coaster, it's such a vivid image and feeling you get when you listen to the song chug along, that I often find myself increasingly jumping around, higher and higher, and banging my head in euphoric ecstasy.

The rest of the songs on here aren't as good, but that doesn't necessarily mean they're bad. "Chores" brings the energy of the aforementioned singles, yet it falls together in just a fun, silly, mess of a song. "For Reverend Green" just swaggers and sways in Beach Boys-esc orchestration as you're wrapped in vocal harmonies and schizophrenic jumps from gentle falsetto and strained screaming. However, it's only after "Fireworks" that the energy sorts of fizzles out, the melodies are less memorable, yet still, that same unique sound is there. That sweet, sweet "Strawberry Jam" sound still oozes over the following tracks, ending in what can only be described as a Christmas morning chant.

And before you can really actually start to get sick of the record it's over. In this day and age, it's hard to really see many records willing to not stretch its ideas out too far, and Animal Collective executes this balance perfectly. Just like a packet of strawberry jam, it's gone in the blink of an eye, yet that sweet taste still remains smeared across your face.



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user ratings (1216)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
For Meatplow (4.5)
I believe in happiness, do you?...

Alex Robertson STAFF (4)
Strawberry Jam, being one of Animal Collective's most varied release, is also one of their most acce...

Dylan S. (4.5)
A work of art by a band with big visions, and even bigger creations....

The Katz brothers (4)
Animal Collective are really good. Even John Norris knows what's up....


Comments:Add a Comment 
DiceMan
December 3rd 2009


7068 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is definitely the best AC album. Screw MPP.

Gyromania
December 3rd 2009


15784 Comments


For Reverend Green is fantastic

Digging: Lantlos - .neon

shade
December 3rd 2009


1198 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is definitely the best AC album. Screw MPP.



123


iarescientists
December 3rd 2009


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

you really know how to write a shitty intro

CelestialDust
December 3rd 2009


3155 Comments


pretty good review, however i am fully aware of what a strawberry is

It's hard to doubt that this album titles really describes the sound of this album in such a perfect way.


that needs some re-wording

i'll get this album eventually, still trying to figure out if i like "Feels"

Prophet178
December 3rd 2009


6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Sung Tongs is where it's at. This would be my number 2 though.

AndrewKaster
December 3rd 2009


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

iarescientists - I'm sure you've been to an elementary school sometime during your life, and that you've learned that its better to give constructive criticism, as opposed to, well...being a dick. In other words, it seems like you've confused this website with Youtube.

AndrewKaster
December 3rd 2009


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

CelestialDust = Thank you! I knew there was something wrong with that, but I wasn't sure what. I usually write these during my thirty minute lunch break and in a sort of "stream of consciousness" way. Oh, and their newer stuff sounds a bit different than their older work. Both have their ups and downs I guess, their old albums feature a lot of...I don't know..."pointless" filler type stuff akin to wanking around. And as Prophet said, Sung Tongs is really good as well.

kitsch
December 3rd 2009


5107 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

all of your reviews have managed to be ignorant, dismissive, and contain stupid generalizations such as "indie douches" and"REAL instruments"

CelestialDust
December 3rd 2009


3155 Comments


you know calling his reviews ignorant and dismissive is a bit of a generalization right?

hopefully you'll never have children

AndrewKaster
December 3rd 2009


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I'm not sure exactly what fact I'm ignorant to in my reviews.

Most critics are dismissive of things they dislike, yet I think it's odd that thus far I've only reviewed albums I liked.

Well, I explicitly explained what I meant by REAL instruments in my review; unless you consider sampling and computers as instruments.

joshuatree
Emeritus
December 3rd 2009


3742 Comments


You didn't just use the phrase "real instruments"!

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
December 3rd 2009


17920 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

here's some constructive criticism

if you start a review with a dictionary definition then it is not a good reivew

AndrewKaster
December 3rd 2009


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

joshuatree: Yes, it's truly subjective. I just don't consider samples and laptops to be instruments in the strictest of all senses.

mynameischan: Then consider it a rather long entry in the dictionary that ties in both words. Webster, get your pens out, I got plenty ideas for the "2010: NEW and IMPROVED Word Book/Now With Nudity"

qwe3
December 4th 2009


21362 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

all of your reviews have managed to be ignorant, dismissive, and contain stupid generalizations such as "indie douches" and"REAL instruments"


Kashmir09
December 4th 2009


772 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Love this album, the only one that can rival MPP or Sung Tongs for me

Enotron
December 8th 2009


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I hate the idea of somebody not considering the sampler as an instrument. triggering a wind sound on a pad, is not that different from hitting a E note on a guitar. samplers just allow you to use any sound you want.

"A musical instrument is an object constructed or used for the purpose of making the sounds of music". If that definition is correct, then i guess laptops can be used as an instrument as well.

Kiran
Emeritus
December 8th 2009


6001 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

love this album

AndrewKaster
December 9th 2009


66 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I already stated that in a traditional sense, laptops and samplers aren't instruments. I do consider, well, anything to be an instrument depending on what you do with it. Hell, the clacking keys on my keyboard could be used for music, Pink Floyd made a cash register an instrument. Still, I wouldn't consider them instruments in...I guess...a "classic" sense. But hell, me in my old age just can't keep up with modern technology. Damn kids and their Facespace.

Enotron
December 9th 2009


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Hmm. How old are you?



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