Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind

January 01, 1970

(Domino)

 

www.dominorecordco.com

 

In its first many moments ‘Graze’ tips tinny synth chord into tinny
synth chord, back and forth like one of those executive toy see-saws full of
strange immiscible liquids, and you get to worrying that maybe this EP will be
about as affecting/relevant to your fervent hipster lifestyle as said little
see-saw – because maybe you’ve seen Animal Collective on the Merriweather Post Pavilion tour, and
maybe in between tweet-worthy crescendos of awesomeness you’ve had to check
your watch to see how long they’ve been faffing around with white noise, fading
out of one song and not, perceptibly, into another – and maybe you’re sort of
unnerved at this seeming return from the pop beats to the unending, groggy
experimentalism, experimentalism without the batshit crazy folk stuff that made
the early albums so good – and maybe you’re thinking that’s what AC are now,
they’re all about the drone and delaying the pleasure and never playing goddamn
‘For Reverend Green’, and that’s seeped onto record for good and you have to
give them up and they have to be one of those bands you get really
heartrendingly mournful about, like a dead dog but then –

 

But then halfway through ‘Graze’ and the lazy chant of  “let me
begin…
” it kicks in. Cymbals! Bass stripes! Pan flutes! “Why do you have to go? / WHY DO YOU HAVE TO
GOOO-ooo?
”  Back to that Strawberry Jam ecstasy that crawls over
you like kittens. But, but –

 

But then they present this turd called ‘What Do I Want? Sky’ which
relentlessly slobbers out the title over this sunny California one-hit-wonder
pop melody that sounds simultaneously like Len (remember ‘Still My Sunshine’?),
the New Radicals (‘You’ve Got the Music in You’?) and Sugar Ray (‘Every
Morning’ there’s a halo hanging something
something
?) except far less enjoyable. But and yet and bloody however –

 

But there’s this gem called ‘On a Highway’, that starts off slow with
the same three-chord, Fuck Buttons-kinda pulsations they dig, that grows to a
happy, hippy drumbeat and rising harmonies, and Avey talks about being, yeah,
on a highway, jealous of Noah’s dreaming. And ‘I Think I Can’ comes in with
another queer, quacking, thundercracking synth riff, and demonstrates their
abilities to make any old mutant made of notes catchy as hell, and culminates
in a jubilant “I think I can I think I
can I think I
…”

 

I think they can too. But on this EP they don’t. They can’t achieve
whatever it is. Unity, perhaps. The constant inconstancy, the tugging about
between good and bad and mediocre like a failing marriage, is taxing to listen
to. That said, with albums as near-unanimously adored as the last three looming
behind them, one patchy EP is naturally going to stick out so sorely and so
ten-thumbed. Not one to have on a ten-lap repeat, but worth its half-hour’s
attention, and not in the least worth throwing in the towel over (you know, the
tea towel embroidered with Noah Lennox’s face – I saw it). It is nice to not be
hit over the head with AC’s talent every now and then.

 

And damn, those are some
tasty pan flutes.

 

Standout Tracks: ‘Graze’, ‘On a
Highway’ MERYL TRUSSLER

 

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