Review Summary: feeling is, so we're told, still quite good.
I wore my copy of Merriweather Post Pavillion
to tethers, just as I do any album I fall madly, wildly in love with. This is because I am an idiot. I like music because I am obsessed with it, and I will never, ever learn from my mistakes, never be able to take time off from an album in the way I so should have done with this one. Merriweather Post Pavillion
made me compulsive, drawn obsessively into the album’s littlest titbits a hundred times over, trying to get in as deep as I possibly could. Should I have? Probably not. As is ever the case, I went too deep, and I ruined the album more than I ever could by turning it to tethers. And it’s taken me a year to dust it off and to see what I saw in Avey and Panda in the first place. But actually, Merriweather Post Pavillion
says it’s okay to obsess; it encourages it. In the end, I didn’t get sick of “Brother Sport” because I played it a hundred times, I got sick of it because it wasn’t carrying me through the moment it used to. I grew attached to these songs in February, and by the time June came it was like I had never heard them. That, my friends, is a wonderful thing.
Merriweather Post Pavillion
was the album that taught me that music is a cyclical thing, an experience whatever its intention, be it to bring down the government or, as Animal Collective would rather advocate, to open the front door. It taught me that music has a time and a place, be it your favourite season or your best friend. I didn’t know it at the time, but Merriweather Post Pavillion
was a lesson in cycles, one that I would only finally learn when I turned on “Bluish” last week, as if for the first time ever. It felt like a fresh experience, but it was the one I’d had two Februarys ago, using Animal Collective’s songs like hot water bottles to fend off snowy weather. This is an annual thing: snow falls every year, and Merriweather Post Pavillion
will be there every year too, new when it needs to be.
And on Merriweather Post Pavillion
Animal Collective is just like that: they’re cyclical guys, impulsive guys, happy guys, experiencing the fleeting ridiculousness of their actions as if for the first time. Their assertions are desires and their most insightful advice is, uh, “Oooo!”
They hinted at such cycles on Feels
when they first asserted the simple fact that feeling is good. They even told us that feeling was all the better for being a timeless thing: “there’ll be time to get dry after the swimming pool”
was such a wonderfully simple thing to say, but it sums up how Animal Collective is a band of moment, writing songs about what they did that day (“Summertime Clothes”) and what they want to do next (“Guys Eyes”). Their music holds onto these instants with a romantic heart, wanting every moment back, new and old: “Daily Routine” reflects everyman’s every day through Panda Bear’s slow-as-*** drones and continuous repetition of “just a sec more,”
and the frantic “Lion In a Coma” achieves the same sense of longing by doing the exact opposite. It feels over as soon as it has begun, with Avey Tare spitting out his lyrics like a real simple soul: “sometimes the sun will shine, yes I am just doin fine / sometimes i'm well-to-do but I don't know what to do.
” Whether these moments are spaced-out or fast as lightning, though, Merriweather Post Pavillion
manifests them in the physical, and as they are felt.
So when I look back on this two years on, I re-live these songs as I first did. I remember “No More Runnin,” with its hypnotically slow electronics, in complete isolation. I remember walking in bitterly cold weather to “Also Frightened” and not caring one bit that it went on and on and on, because my walk seemed to do the same. And I remember listening to the most fittingly universal track, “Brother Sport,” with friends, and later in its untamed live state. And this, I think, is what I remember Merriweather Post Pavillion
being so great at. Animal Collective have become a visual band, a band that have colourful paint and photo collages splashed over their music videos, a band who created a psychadelic movie called Oddsac
and wrote music to fit. They’re a band attuned to a live setting, and they love setting enough to name their record after an outdoor music venue. Animal Collective have become a band set to experience, with albums that can invoke nostalgia just two years on from their release, that can sound new without your say-so. And in the end, even an idiot like me feels that.