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“Painting With” by Animal Collective

“Painting With” by Animal Collective


There is a seizure disclaimer at the beginning of the video for the single “FloriDada,” and thinking it was some kind of gimmick, I ignored it. But soon enough, the flashings and intense psychedelic imagery were a bit too much to take, even for this non-epileptic reviewer. The song however, is pretty damn catchy. The chorus flows on top of itself like a breaking wave, and everything feels like the beach. Perhaps a little too poppy for some Animal Collective fans, and it has moments where they are doing way too much at once, but it definitely brings you back to the Strawberry Jam days. It seems as if Avey Tare and company have focused back on the fun vocal harmonizing that brought on comparisons to The Beach Boys in their earlier work. In an odd twist of fate, they recorded the album in the same studio where Pet Sounds was created. Painting With contains somee beautifully strange tracks, like “Burglars” and “On Delay,” that highlight the band’s ability to make a dense wall of sound, full of electronic blips and buzzes overlapping each other. Contrasting songs, like the mellowed-out “Vertical,” give the album the sonic depth we’ve come to expect from Animal Collective. If you didn’t much care for Centipede Hz, or the recent solo offerings, Painting With just might bring you back on board.

For those not too familiar with Animal Collective, their sound may be a bit too bizarre upon the first listen, but once you soak in it for awhile, you want to stay in the hot tub. The track “Spilling Guts” is a perfect example of this phenomenon. “Golden Gal” (With Dorothy from The Golden Girls providing samples) is a quite harmonious track, soothing through an abrasive fuzz of electronic patterns underlaying the pleasant vocals.

What stands out in this collection as a whole is that the band has returned to form, and rejected the idea that they have to be something new or a different version of themselves. It’s clear that Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist put an enormous amount of energy into the production of Painting With, and I, for one, can’t wait to hear the new stuff live. They are about to launch a world tour, including festivals in Holland and Italy, and it was just recently announced that they will be playing the Primavera Sound festival in Spain with a few acts you may have heard of – Radiohead, LCD Soundsystem, PJ Harvey, Sigur Rós. It seems that the comeback is at full-tilt.

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Scott McHale