Animal Collective are a band who can go into your kitchen and, armed with a collection of glass bowls, saucepans and the contents of your cutlery draw, could produce a masterpiece... or conversely sound like a bunch of kids mucking about in the kitchen. This is because they completely understand the basic beauty and evocative nature of sound, but sometimes get lost between the original idea and the final product.
I can put up with the near misses if they continue to come up with those astonishing moments when, out of a seemingly chaotic mess, everything resolves with a single note or chord change.
This obviously puts a lot of people off, and tries their patience. 12 minutes of "Visiting friends" is not for everyone, but I completely understand and love that track. All 12 minutes of it.
However with the first few tracks of Strawberry Jam I thought they were getting stale and were repeating themselves. I thought Panda Bear had outgrown them with Person Pitch and the end was nigh. But then with "For Reverand Green" and "Fireworks" all was right with the world.
MPP picks up from those tracks, weaves in the splendid ideas from Person Pitch and on we go. MPP isn't a perfect album. "Also Frightened" is dreary and is best skipped and "Lion in a coma" (a play on words) doesn't quite work for me. But the majority of it is so sumptuous, warm, and life affirming that it would be bonkers to give it less than 5 stars.
If you're new to Animal Collective then this is the album to start with. "Daily Routine" gives you an idea of their earlier work. The way the extended voice is harmonised with those shining bell sounds towards the end of the track is classic AC and may invite you to buy "Feels" and "Sung Tongs".
If you're already a fan you've already got this.