Animal Collective
ODDSAC


4.0
excellent

Review

by Adam Downer STAFF
November 15th, 2011 | 62 replies | 15,066 views


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: what happened?

I’ll preface this by saying that I felt that 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion was a fantastic record, but I also felt it signaled the end of a natural career arc. At their inception a noisy, freakish duo, Animal Collective have slowly let their audience grow wider, getting warmer and less abrasive with each album. Merriweather’s unabashed, stadium-thumping pop choruses seemed to indicate that their decade long run towards pop music had reached its apex, and the result was glorious, arguably the strongest record of their careers (though really, which isn’t? And no, Danse Manatee doesn’t count). But it was also easy; the melodies in “Summertime Clothes” and “My Girls” were irresistible, possibly indicating that Animal Collective were now setting their sights towards arenas when their very insular nature was what was so integral to their initial appeal.

But Animal Collective have never really catered to what’s expected of them; naturally, 2010’s ODDSAC shuts everyone back out. The band and filmmaker Danny Perez call the collaborative project a “visual album.” It’s fitting that that classification gives equal responsibility to both parties; Perez’s visuals and Animal Collective’s music work too well together for ODDSAC to be released soundtrack-only. The film opens with an arresting sequence in which fire spinning demons approach a house while the girl within fights off a black goo oozing through her walls. Animal Collective’s uptempo, distorted accompaniment colors the scene as a sort of horrifying spiritual celebration, but the scene ends without resolution, and as Perez picks up the visual ooze motif for one of ODDSAC’s more disturbing visual sequences, Animal Collective's noise begins to ooze as well. Fittingly, the narrative doesn’t get more cohesive from here, as both Perez and Animal Collective commit fully to abstract, and what becomes clear with each new vignette is that ODDSAC is wholly for Animal Collective and not a "target audience." Which, in a way, is the best thing about it.

Easy it’s not; ODDSAC seethes with agitation and frustration. Nearly everything about the film is a psychological assault, from the abstract and often haunting mini-narratives to the aggressive visual interludes. The grainy, simple set designs recall amateur B-movie horror, but without contexts, ODDSAC’s constant barrage of the uncanny and obtuse is terrifying. (Keep an eye out for the marshmallow scene; it’s eons apart from friendapaloozas “Brothersport” and “Summertime Clothes.”) Band member Geologist astutely observed that fans of only “My Girls” and might not like ODDSAC, which, depending on how you look at it, makes ODDSAC either an admirable work or a self-indulgent one, and it’s a little bit of both. Segments such as the undercooked food fight at the end of the film or the interludes too reminiscent of Windows Media Players visualizers tread the line between brilliant and *wink* “we’re stoned!” But while they betray how limited the project really was, they’re never truly distracting. The smoothness of ODDSAC’s transitions and its meticulous attention to thematic unity illustrate that it is indeed more than a bizarre mish-mosh of hippie nonsense (which it presents itself as, admittedly) and a well thought out piece of work.

But it is certainly a piece of work. It’s far from perfect and at times, intentionally tough to look at. What it is mostly is interesting, which, while a much more qualified compliment than good, is a compliment nonetheless. At this point in their careers, Animal Collective’s reversion to the abstract and bizarre is welcome and fascinating. At a time when they have the clout to release a live DVD, they instead offer us this queer little project that’s aggressively but deliciously obtuse, a film whose merits and interpretations are debatable, but its integrity isn't



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user ratings (70)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
Nick Habisch (4.5)
ODDSAC is weird and wonderful, a visualization into the mind of Animal Collectve...

Eli Kleman EMERITUS (4)
Animal Collective, along with Danny Perez, have crafted a truly unforgettable aural and visual exper...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Electric City
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2011



15693 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

little write-up i did for an independent study

Digging: Nmesh - Dream Sequins [AMDISCS]

Xenophanes
Emeritus
November 15th 2011



10553 Comments


I liked this. Great review!

Digging: Saintseneca - Dark Arc

Rev
November 15th 2011



9291 Comments


I still haven't seen this, but I love the music for it

wabbit
November 15th 2011



6742 Comments


I hate different opinionz

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2011



30295 Comments


This is probably terrible

Digging: L'Orange - The Orchid Days

Rev
November 15th 2011



9291 Comments


Dev, have you liked anything they've released?

psykonaut
November 15th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

oddsac review out of fucking nowhere
loved this film

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2011



30295 Comments


I've only heard a few things from them, but Water Curses wasn't bad

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
November 15th 2011



3663 Comments


Sup, nice review

Gyromania
November 15th 2011



14647 Comments


Glad you posted this.

Sleaper
November 15th 2011



3134 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

What happened is out of this world, one of my fav songs.
the white haired snare drummer was epicccc.
good read, good review, good movie

Digging: SpaceGhostPurrp - B.M.W. 2: Intoxxxicated

thebhoy
Emeritus
November 15th 2011



4459 Comments


film looks like a first year film school project. Let's use every trick we can think of! IT'S AVANT-GARDE

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
November 15th 2011



14884 Comments


the first track is one of my favorite animal collective songs o the past few years

Ire
November 15th 2011



41453 Comments


return of downeracsuperfan

Drsmith4
November 15th 2011



1696 Comments


How should I approach this film?

psykonaut
November 15th 2011



3913 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

step 1: apply drugs to face
step 2: watch

Drsmith4
November 15th 2011



1696 Comments


Word.

;)

Rev
November 15th 2011



9291 Comments


Lol

thebhoy
Emeritus
November 15th 2011



4459 Comments


also, fyi. none of this really approaches the uncanny for me. More like the Sublime, and it seems that's what you really want to say when you say "uncanny and obtuse."

The Sublime is essentially pleasure through something reveals terror through its vastness and inherent unknowability: a mountain because we can never see the whole thing, night time because of the way it conceals the idle, brutalist architecture because of its vast lack of symmetry and weighty blocks. (see: Kant)

thebhoy
Emeritus
November 15th 2011



4459 Comments


well, I mean, I guess it could be uncanny. Depends how you look at it--maybe its the melody of the music that makes it uncanny




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