Review Summary: Animal Collective assembles a collection of catchy, weird, and haunting songs.
Following the release and success of 2007’s Strawberry Jam
, Animal Collective decided to make use of some of their unused material and released an Extended Play entitled Water Curses
. Featuring three songs recording during the Strawberry Jam
sessions and one recorded later, before the May 2008 release.
features only four songs, but holds its own among the vaunted Animal Collective discography. The title track is a weird blend of carnival style raucous music, noise, and quiet vocals which all accumulate to create an odd track that has such a strange sound, yet is catchy in all the right ways. Following this, "Street Flash" is almost a complete 180-degree turn as the pace slows down, the rhythms and noises begin to meander, and the vocals take on a degree of fluidity. Vocal effects heavily distort a good chunk of what is being said on "Street Flash", but it meshes well with the blips and bloops that make up this almost seven minute piece. After "Street Flash" we continue this mid tempo pace with "Cobwebs". High registry singing and a dripping percussion section form the majority of the song, which is the most vocal led track on Water Curses
. "Cobwebs" is in essence a large build up to the 2:58 mark, where there is much more going on then just the initial percussion line that forms the song.
The final track on Water Curses
is entitled "Seal Eyeing". This song is quite different from the rest of the EP, and a lot of the Collective’s songs in general. A very low-key song, with a piano, a few sound effects, and the low mixed poetic vocals being all that it consists of. This song is a contradictory end to Water Curses
, as it is beautiful and calming, yet almost too simple for such a usually dense band. It is both a brilliant end and a letdown at the same time.
For being an EP consisting of three Strawberry Jam
b-sides, and a song record specifically for this, Water Curses
flows remarkably well. It is almost a blessing that none of these songs appear on Strawberry
, as they have such a natural connection to one another that it’s very easy to make the mistake of thinking this EP was all straight new material (a la Fall Be Kind).
Though Water Curses
is just four songs long, it is a nice way to delve into the word of Animal Collective, or a good addition to a fan’s collection. It works well as a stand-alone listen, and likely could function as a companion piece to Strawberry Jam
. Animal Collective puts a lot of work into their EP releases, and Water Curses
is no exception.