One thing you can count on Animal Collective for: Evolution.
The acid-rockers continue getting weirder and weirder in the "People" EP, which apparently heralds their latest twists in sonic experimentation. This is less pastoral and more acid-soaked than their last album, and if this is their new direction, then listeners will probably be happy to follow them.
It opens with the gentle, melodious strums and little piano plinks. The melody starts to pick up, and heavy strings and harmonies start to weave around it. Then... buzzy synth kicks in, rattling and obscuring the catchy melody until the whole title track is a tangled fuzz opera, complete with bloodcurdling yowls.
There's also a live version of this, which is more stripped-down and less synthed. It's still pretty eerie and screechy by the finale. In between these, there are two other songs: the sunny, crazyfolk "Tikwid" and the creepy ambient "My Favorite Colors," which is like listening to an opera aria underwater.
Apparently "People" is a sample of what's to come for Animal Collective. Yes, it's totally insane -- in a good way.
After years of working together, this band has gotten very polished -- they can weave together intricate tapestries of synth, lo-fi indie-rock, piano, whistles, sirens, and acidic washes of strings and fuzz. These are overlaid over catchy melodies and samples, creating very layered music that never sounds the same twice.
I'll be honest here -- that earsplitting screeching in the live "People" is really annoying, as is the expanding scream in the original. But otherwise the Animal Collective sounds great here -- Beatles-on-acid warbles in "Tikwid," ghostly noises, and howls of "yeah yeah YEAH!" throughout the title track.
"People" is a pretty weird, wild EP, and fans of Animal Collective will be thrilled by their new spins on their usual sound. Bizarre, breezy and absolutely mad.