With the success of their universally creamed-upon 2009 release Merriweather Post Pavilion and its
subsequent Grateful Dead-sampling EP Fall Be Kind, Animal Collective bid
farewell to the ‘00s in a hailstorm of happy hype. So what better time
than now to revisit one of the great lost gems of the group’s catalog.
Originally released in 2003 on their own Catsup Plate vanity
imprint, Campfire Songs, newly reissued on
Paw Tracks, serves as the turning point in the Animal Collective story where Panda Bear, Avey Tare and
co. transcended the electronically enhanced squalls of noise that overpowered
much of their early material like 2001’s Danse
Manatee in favor of a stoned soul picnic of mellow modality.
Recorded on a porch in the band’s native Maryland utilizing nothing more than
some acoustic guitars and mini-disc players (remember those??) capturing the
atmospherics of their surroundings like chirping birds, insects and trees
blowing in the wind, the five tracks here meditative in nature and Holy Modal
Rounders-esque in their chant-like, devotional tone as the group is captured
aiming to become one with the environment that envelops them.
Campfire Songs is one of the great products of the
early ‘00s “freak-folk” movement and a telltale precursor to the
Collective’s true masterpiece, 2004’s Sung Tongs. It’s great to see it
back in print.
Standout Tracks: “Queen in My
Pictures”, “Two Corvettes”, “De Soto De Son” RON HART