Do you believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy, the Boogie Monster, Sandman, dragons, extraterrestrial life, Pauly Shore, or anything of that nature" Maybe if you woke up tommorow and found a dragon buttering up some toast, you'd have an enormous party with it and get crunk. Maybe you'd slay it like the Elizabethians did right" These things all are figments of our imagination, at least until we're old enough to realize (I found "Santa's presents" when I was 5) that it's all really just fun and lies. Apparently, nobody has broken it to Animal Collective that none of these things exist. Instead, we let them get up early every Saturday morning to watch morning cartoons and laugh at the antics of Tom & Jerry and a vast array of childish amusements. But, as a result of this poor parenting, we get Feels
, an album that borders on childlike weirdness and meditative maturity at the same time.
If this wasn't enough to describe the general sound of Feels
, allow me to allaborate: Avey, Deakin, Doctess, Eyird, Panda, and Geologist make a hypnotizing blend of sugary melodies, goofy backing "woooh!" vocals, washes of delay pedals and guitar frequencies, and visceral, tribal drumming. The opener, "Did You See the Words", sets up the lyrical scenario for the rest of Feels
; somewhat cryptic lyrics coupled with nonsensical weirdness, concerning romance and a whole slew of other things that this mess of a band can throw in. Instantly topping it is what can rank as one of the best pop songs in awhile, the majestic "Grass". Thumping tom-toms, spirals of guitar and what seems to be keyboard tones, and probably the most twistedly happy vocals to ever appear anywhere, chiming out lines about growing up: "I was walking on feet just like my fathers
", and a plutonic-turned-whatever relationship: "My nose was screaming that you smelled like a lover but my hands were happy to treat you like a brother then
" ; "Would you like to see me often / though you don't need to see me often / cause I'd like to see you often / though I dont need to see you often"
. There are even pyschotic screams of "POW POW POW POW"
The rest of the album, with the exception of the tribal, slappy-happy "The Purple Bottle", is full of dense, atmospheric tunes that border on ambient. Although songs like the moonlight-sea warble of "Flesh Canoe" and "Banshee Beat" are some of the most inspiring and spine-tingling tunes on the album, especially the latter which builds, slowly, to a grand focus point of moving guitars and fields of echo, clocking in at nearly a wonderful eight and a half minutes. "Daffy Duck" features jittering, delay-affected guitar and plenty of sound effects (I specifically hear a leaky faucet and a dog barking) in a 7-minute drudge of an affair, but it somehow remains a pretty little thing anyway, despite it being the least captivating/interesting some throughout the whole album. "Loch Raven" thrives on bells, chimes, piano drenched in echo, and virtually no drums, another song that could be considered one large drone (still pretty) that doesn't seem to have a point, though it gives way to the last, and easily one of the best songs, "Turn Into Something". The song finds the Animal Collective back into the twisted pop-song territory, but this time somehow even more wonderful, with pounding drums, sickeningly happy singing, a judicious amount of delay and reverb, and thos charming backing vocals peeping along constantly. It almost sounds like a mix between Swedish pop, African tribal music, and uh... the Grand Canyon. Halfway thruogh, it falls into a wonderful, almost My Bloody Valentine-like drone with waves of sounds, piano, and under the ocean "oohs" and singing, ending the album on where it was lost for so long.
Despite falling off into 24-track hell, Animal Collective have made one of the most original albums of 2005 by flying their freak flag proudly.
Now I have faith in Bio Dome