Sep 18, 2007

Strawberry Jam-Animal Collective

Bonefish. Bonefish. The hair on the back of your neck stands to attention. Excitement overflow. You are entering the strange and mysterious world of Animal Collective. I am glad to have them back. They make music that sounds like no one else and I am so grateful for it. "Strawberry Jam" is a dazzling collection of pop gems, tribal beats, freak outs and the usual assortment of mysterious noises. This might be the Collective's best work yet and that is saying something. It is certainly their most accessible, although I doubt any commercial radio station is rushing to find a hit single. Having said that, maybe they should. There are moments of pure gold here. Dripping like honey from a music tree, I wish these songs could somehow seep into the general public's consciousness. Never mind, those of us who have made the leap of faith are rewarded yet again by these men with gold in their genes.

Ah, so back to the start. "Peacebone" comes at you with static noise before the drums kick in and the unmistakable rhythms of Animal Collective loop inside your brain. This track also shows that this album is dominated by the voice of Avey Tare. His voice is not technically great, he doesn't have the glorious melodic pipes of Panda Bear. But he sings with spirit and character and he possesses an internal rhythm that is perfectly suited to the music. And when he yelps and screams your heart skips a beat. "Unsolved Mysteries" continues the pattern. Uneven rhythms and plaintive singing somehow jell together. Then the great triumvirate is upon us. 3 soaring songs of supreme majesty that are heartbreakingly beautiful and just damn exciting. "Chores" is Panda Bear's major piece and the glorious harmonies will truly have you sighing and smiling. A song of great heart and tenderness indeed. "For Reverend Green" is quite possibly the band's greatest moment. An epic song of undeniable passion it leaves me breathless. When Avey Tare screams "Now I think it's alright to feel inhuman" I start to have conniptions. Then the shimmering beauty of "Fireworks" follows, all grace and startling splendour. Like all AC albums those moments of striving for the musical heights also produce songs that are experimental and puzzling. "#1" is a little too monotonous and "Cuckoo Cuckoo" has some lovely piano but meanders a little bit too much. But then the closing song "Derek" brings Panda Bear back into the fold with a glorious song of divine proportions. This is AC's most succinct, focused work yet. Full of incredible beauty and pulsating excitement, it makes me grateful that some people in the world have the ability to present such a wonderful gift of music.
MP3: Fireworks
MP3: Peacebone


  • At November 02, 2007 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    This is without a doubt the best album I've listened to since Lift Yr. Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven, but in a much different way. Tare's voice has character, not unlike Neil Young's voice that lends a cozy feeling to the songs.

    AC's the best!


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