Saturday, January 17, 2009

Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion

Artist: Animal Collective
Album: Merriweather Post Pavilion
Date Released: January 12, 2009
Genre: experimental, rock, indie rock
Rating: 9.2

Review: In what is arguably their best release to date, Animal Collective has issued the most user-friendly album of their brilliant 7 year career. Previous releases, like Here Comes the Indian (2003) and Strawberry Jam (2007) have been gorgeous and intricate, but the experimental nature of their work has often made for challenging (if not difficult) listening -- they've never really appealed to mainstream sensibilities, nor have they really tried. But with Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective has released their first "pop album" and are now poised to take their career to a different level.

Merriweather Post Pavilion is a showcase for the band and their talents. The album features all the Animal Collective trademarks: sophisticated sound design, modal minimalism, sweeping expanses, fantastic melodies and provocative lyrics. Animal Collective, the duo of Avey Tare (aka David Porter) and Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox), has produced tracks that are laden with electronic pulses and swells, all while dressed with Brian Willsonesque harmonies and a deep acoustic space. And lest their fans fear that they've gone commercial, their song arrangements are still highly unconventional and groundbreaking.

What makes Merriweather Post Pavilion particularly remarkable is how inherently listenable it is and how it reinvents itself with each listen.

The album also features remarkable cover art in which the green leaf-like objects appear to sway and flow. Indeed, like the album cover, Animal Collective remain one of the most unique and talented bands in the world.

Track highlights: "My Girls," "Bluish," and "Brother Sport."


  1. I really don't get this album. It wouldn't get into my top 500 for 2009. I need to try harder to like this.

  2. This is coming up on so many people's 'Best of 2009'. Except for the track 'My Girls', really, I just don't get it. I deleted the rest of the album from my iTunes months ago... It also seems that most of the comments are people's shock and dismay over the topc position this album is getting...

  3. TOTALLY agree with you too. This album, upon repeated listening, only confounds me further as to why people like it so much.

  4. Cross Polyphonic Spree, XTC and Robyn Hitchcock and you have Animal Collective. Like the rest of you I find this band interesting but they'd not appear in my to 10 for 2009.

  5. I don't get why people get such a kick out of this album... I also don't get why Brother Ali and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros are not on anyones best of lists. This is a good album but there were better ones released this year. I also saw these guys live twice this year at Bonnaroo and First Ave in Mpls... Lets just say they didn't live up to the hype!

  6. These guys are hacks. My god people, listen to yourselves. You've invented all sorts of clearly false and over-reaching genre titles for this band to belong in because you don't want to admit to yourself that you enjoy electro-pop. This is a pop group that sings pop songs. It's ok to like pop music, but please stop inventing all these silly titles so you don't have to admit it to yourselves. This is album is average. Not groundbreaking. Not progressive. Not demanding. You don't get anything new from the 7th listen that you didn't get from the 2nd. Where's Mantis by Umphrey's McGee or Radiolarians by MMW? This is gimmick music, at its finest.

  7. I agree with James. The album is really inventive, but, don't know, lacked something to be the best of the year.

  8. I agree, especially with barifkin: animal collective is pop dressed in a space suit.