Animal Collective co-founder Avey Tare’s second solo record, Eucalyptus, sounds like California. It’s the perfect soundtrack for watching the sunrise as the mushrooms wear off while you’re sitting on a grassy hill on the central coast. You can almost hear the wind rustling eucalyptus leaves in the mangled wash of sibilance floating through “Melody Unfair,” and occasionally waves and seagull cries drift into the record that are either cleverly constructed sonic trickery or straight up field recordings.
Eucalyptus is full of gloomy cosmic ballads composed of mostly acoustic instruments reverberating, droning, and skittering arrhythmically around Avey Tare’s idiosyncratic vocal timbres. At times, the sounds of natural environs, speech, and distant music cut in and out like intermittent moments of waking while you nap, with your friends going about their business talking, stomping around, and playing old records at a forest cabin on the coast. When traditional percussion instruments are present, they’re minimal and mostly downtempo, but they feel upbeat compared to the more atmospheric moments that predominate.
Similarities between Animal Collective and Avey Tare’s solo work are to be expected–and they’re definitely there–but on Eucalyptus he’s doing his own more organic and spacious thing that comes off sober and contemplative compared to the explosive bliss-fest he helps create in Animal Collective. Bottom line, if you like Animal Collective, you’ll probably like this record, but for slightly different reasons. You won’t be dancing like you did back in 2009 when “My Girls” was in heavy rotation, but you’re older now, so that’s probably fine. »