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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's have a big grin then
Clive Winston's review below sums it up better than I can, but I would just like to add that there is a definite hint of The Feelies in here along with everything else, especially on Banshee Beats.

Cracking album. Definite buy.
Published on 7 Dec. 2006 by Marley's Ghost

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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Touchy feely
This should have been the Collective's crowning moment. The return of the full 'line-up' so soon after last year's Avey Tare and Panda Bear-orchestrated masterpiece 'Sung Tongs' heralded great things, and many early reviews agreed. I'm not so convinced. There are moments on this record where they genuinely seem to push the boundaries of...
Published on 9 Dec. 2005 by Demob Happy

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Let's have a big grin then, 7 Dec. 2006
By 
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
Clive Winston's review below sums it up better than I can, but I would just like to add that there is a definite hint of The Feelies in here along with everything else, especially on Banshee Beats.

Cracking album. Definite buy.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A vibrant canvas of textures and rhythms., 24 Feb. 2006
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
Despite what some fans and critics have said, I believe that 'Feels' is an album that more than lives up to its predecessor, the excellent Sung Tongs. The sound here is more expansive and seems a lot freer in its approach, with the emphasis placed on the performance and the seemingly improvised bursts of noise and other such random instrumental touches. At the same time, however, the pop influences shine through, and the album as a whole is a great deal of fun... that is, if you can put aside the bones of scepticism, or the paranoid NME style pigeonholing!!
To be fair, describing the overall sound of the Animal Collective can be a daunting and impossible task. Thus far, they've changed their style considerably from one album to the next, incorporating a number of disparate musical influences, whilst simultaneously striving throughout to fuse traditional pop rhythms and melodies, alongside more experimental song structures and arrangements!! Understandably then, 'Feels' is - for the lack a better word - a trippy album, one that taps into the ethos of the 60's hippie scene and injects it with a contemporary dose of irony (not that the Collective are winking at the audience in an Apples In Stereo stylee or anything, but rather, the use of instrumentation, especially when coupled with the production and that lovely cover art, seem to strive to evoke the free-form excess and the mind-expanding exploration at the heart of the nu-folk and 60's psychedelic genres). This puts them in the same sphere as the Brian Jonestown Massacre, as well as the other two bands of the aforementioned Elephant 6, The Olivia Tremor Control and the mighty Neutral Milk Hotel.
Further reference points can be found within the scene that the Animal Collective have helped to create, with the band's music showing similarities to other acid-folk luminaries like Devendra Banhart, Sufjan Stevens, Tunng, Vetiver, the Arcade Fire and the too-brilliant-for-words Joanna Newsom. Added to this, we also have the retro-influence of acts like Pink Floyd (particularly the early Sid Barrett stuff), Robert Wyatt, the Incredible String Band, Blonde on Blonde era Dylan, mid period Donovan and that perennial nu-folk luminary Vashti Bunyan (who the Collective collaborated with on their great Prospect Hummer EP from 2004, as well as Bunyan's 2005 come-back album, Lookaftering).
If any (or all?) of those acts float your musical boat (so to speak!), then it's safe to say that 'Feels' is the one for you, with the album getting off to a great start with Did You See the Words, which sounds to me like a schizophrenic take on the Arcade Fire's über-hit single The Power Out, with a clamour of percussion, over-lapping vocals, exotic textures and a floating feeling of psychedelic excess. The rest of the album follows a similar path, with the songs deviating in tempo only (some songs sounding slow and minimal - like Flesh Canoe, with its dreamy underwater feeling of drifting and disorientating animal calls, and Bees, with it's vast silences broken only by the scratchy instrumentation and the layers of droning vocals - whilst other tracks, such as the standout number Grass and the aforementioned opener, have a robust sound made up of layers of diverse and bizarre instrumentation and more pronounced pop rhythms and melodies). That said, the songs rarely stick to one set trajectory, often surging off in strange and intoxicating directions, incorporating all manner of influences, instruments, sound samples, voices, noises, bells and whistles, whilst creating a strange and hypnotic feeling that seems to strive to create the sense of intoxication, under the weight of heavy hallucinogenics!!!
Further reference points on the album lean towards the post rock of bands like Godspeed! You Black Emperor, Dirty Three, Cocteau Twins and, in particular, Sigur Ròs, with the escalating and propulsive structure of songs like Banshee Beat and Loch Raven recalling the escalating rhythms and tempos of their 2005 effort, Takk. There are also elements of that much acclaimed XTC album Skylarking, with Feels possessing a similarly pastoral sound with the emphasis on nature, animals and human behaviour, alongside bizarre production effects, exotic instruments, and overlapping vocals (you could probably draw parallels to the mid-80's Talking Heads sound too... that is, if you really wanted to!!).
Regardless, Feels retains its individuality, and was really the best step to take following the exceptional Sung Tongs. Here, the Collective manage to advance on their sound in a way that opens them up to new ideas and interpretations, yet at the same time, manages to retain the key Animal Collective sound that has been developing nicely though the previous albums Here Comes the Indian and the classic mighty Sung Tongs. Feels is an album that manages to take on board well worm "retro" influences, and blur them with a sound of their own, creating a bright, vibrant, strange and colourful collection of pastoral psychedelic pop songs that more than measure up to the music of their heroes and associates.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A unique and astounding masterpiece., 8 Nov. 2005
By 
A. Dean - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
Yesterday I wasn't sure what my favourite album was,this year. Today I strongly believe that it is Feels by The Animal Collective.
I'd previously only heard Here Comes The Indian, a decent set of largely formless, spectral freak-outs. I thought it good, but little more.
This latest album of theirs, however, has quite amazed me. It retains the same ghostly feel of that other album, but marries it to actual songs. With singing, and everything! I realise they've recorded one or two more, between these two, so perhaps I shouldn't be quite so shocked. Regardless, the memorable, melodic depths of Feels are deeply impressive.
The first two tracks sound like Boces-era Mercury Rev covering the Cocteau Twins, recorded live on a malfunctioning machine, the gaps plugged in later, from other sources. Fantastic stuff, then.
As the album progresses, the sound becomes more whispered, less primal. You can't really use typical music-journo. adjectives as 'heavy', 'intense' or 'dense' here. The sound slips and wriggles around so much on this album, even just during one song, that to try and pin it down is pointless.
Standouts for me include the rapturous sound showers of the opening 'Did You See The Words'. Imagine that The Polyphonic Spree are covering The Flaming Lips. It's that good. It's immediately followed by 'Grass', wherein bird song and gentle humming mix with primal shrieks, dramatic drum swells and cymbal crashes, all married to an incredibly memorable melody.
Elsewhere the more ambient tracks are dreamy, soothing, abandoning the more disturbing aspects of previous Animal Collective songs for a more reassuring, comforting sound.
It's the sort of thing that makes me glad I only make music for fun. It'd be utterly depressing to try and compete with this for any more serious a reason.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Their best yet, 7 Aug. 2007
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
Feels further confirms that not only does Animal Collective make music different from anything else that's out there - these folks are also quite good at it. If listening to each Animal Collective release is a little bit like having the Collective guide you through a primal forest, Here Comes the Indian is like venturing deep into the Heart of Darkness, and Sung Tongs let a little bit of light shine through the trees. Listening to Feels, then, is like settling down in a sunny clearing; all the soothing sounds of the forest still reach your ears, but this time, Animal Collective won't get lost along the way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Crystalline, 25 July 2007
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
an absolute education in atmosphere, ambience and crescendo through pure analogue sound. swirling piano's, distant and trippy guitar sounds and hypnotising drums from noah. avey tare hammers out some inspirational, almost rambleing vocals like a battle of sense and surreal. throughout there is staggering harmony be it in the form of vocals or instrumentation and arrangement - truly impressive and i urge those of you who enjoy losing yourself in landscape like sound, with beach boys-esc use of vocals and folky songs hidden underneath layers of watery and hypnotic sound to buy this record.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Perhaps their best album so far, 25 Oct. 2005
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
This album proves yet again that Animal Collective are one of the most exciting and interesting bands around at the moment. You never really know what each album will sound like and as a result i did not know what to expect with this one.
Unlike "Sung Tongs" this is a more electric album featuring all four members of the group. Half the tracks are upbeat, psychedelic and slightly demented whilst the rest are suprisingly subtle and ambient. Each listen reveals a new sound or melody that you had not previously noticed. The guitars feature a lot on the album with a variety of effects in place such as delay and reverb. The drums are also quite prominent especially on the faster tracks.
The single "Grass is remarkable and has a very memorable melody. It sounds like they've tried to squash together as many ideas together as possible in one song. This could end up sounding harsh or overdone but in fact it's absolutely stunning. It's like a euphoric rush of vocals, melodies, drums and chanting.
"Purple bottle" also has a frenzied pace and a ridiculously catchy melody. The chorus features a cross between a scream and a chant but somehow it really works and sounds great. It really is fun to listen to.
"Banshee beat" in contrast is slow and haunting and shows that they can use subtlety with great impact. A single guitar drone quietly hums to whispering vocals until later when a gentle beat becomes audible and the guitar changes chord. It's beautiful.
"Loch Raven" is another haunting ambient track. A sad piano melody with dreamy vocals and atmospheric electronics. It's one of the most moving things they've ever done and contrasts with the more fun filled songs on the album.
What makes Animal Collective stand out from other bands is that they are able to combine very strong melodies with unusual song structures. Their music is expressive and emotional without ever being pretentious. Watching them perform live, it becomes apparent that they genuinely love what they do. Long may they continue.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best Animal Collective Album So Far, 14 Jun. 2013
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This review is from: Feels (MP3 Download)
Still lots more I haven't heard, but this is the best Animal Collective album I've heard so far. Some very strong songs here. An excellent backdrop to a train journey if you can resist singing along or smiling like some kind of looney!
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Feels so pretty, 25 Feb. 2006
By 
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
Folk jazz. Psychedelic prog. Experimental indie.
Animal Collective uses all those sounds (and more) in their seventh album, the freakily beautiful "Feels." With pop melodies that are never catchy and instrumentation that is never ordinary, they manage to weave together songs that break away creatively from their past work.
It opens with a delicate burbling noise, somewhere between laughter and a brook. From there on, the Collective takes it into a bouncy, merry indiepop number called "Did You See the Words." Not only is it fun to listen to, but it's decorated with bells, piano and a chorus of happy voices.
From there on, they follow it up with the mad sparkle of "Grass," shimmering indie ballads, acoustic dance music, wandering experimental collages, and tight little dark indie-rock numbers that are as strippd down as this band will ever. The highlight of the entire album is "Bees," a delicate post-rock exercise in strumming, piano, and meditating on... life and bees.
One of the biggest problems a band can have is trying out new sounds, without abandoning the old. In "Feels," the Animal Collective has dropped some of the sonic trappings of their previous album, in favour of more straightforward melodies. Of course, "straightforward" is relative -- many of the songs still drift through in clouds of sweetness.
It's kind of hard to pick apart these melodies, and figure out what instruments were used to create them. I can tell you this much: There's sweeping delicate synth, some great piano work, solid drums, and an off-kilter autoharp. There is an occasional drone of guitar riffs, but mostly they stick to the gentler acoustic stuff, which gives it a folky edge.
Avey Tare's voice swims through the music like a psychedelic duck. He doesn't sound like a singer so much as another instrument. He takes the listener through giddiness to depression, and finally to the enlightenment of how to be happy -- the last song just shimmers down into a piano solo, and fades.
Bold, bright and charming, "Feels" is another triumph for the Animal Collective. And it's recommended for anyone who needs to get into a sunny mood, fast.
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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Touchy feely, 9 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
This should have been the Collective's crowning moment. The return of the full 'line-up' so soon after last year's Avey Tare and Panda Bear-orchestrated masterpiece 'Sung Tongs' heralded great things, and many early reviews agreed. I'm not so convinced. There are moments on this record where they genuinely seem to push the boundaries of what can be achieved on record while retaining some relationship with popular music. Opener 'Did You See the Words' bursts on to the stereo in full technicolour - psychedelic pop in the same ballpark as early Mercury Rev and late Beach Boys but saturated in all manner of sonic ephemera. The production is amorphous, brain-teasing stuff, with the single 'Grass' following in equally deranged territory: fragments of T-Rex-style glam stomp floating in amongst Flaming Lips-esque vocalisations and primal, punk-rock screaming. It is quickly apparent that the economy of the largely-accoustic Sung Tongs has been replaced with a more expansive musical palette - but one seemingly born in the studio (I would like to see this played live!). However, by the fourth track Purple Bottle, the overloaded ferocity of the Collective's trademark joyousness has started to become wearying and irritating, and you start wishing for a 'less is more' approach. Then, as if to answer your plea, 'Bees' begins a lengthy four-track descent into semi-ambient territory, all murmering, sitars and drones. However, not all of it sustains my attention, and none of it matches the sheer beauty and mind-boggling originality of Sung Tongs' 'Good Lovin' Outside'. It is this failure to balance out the extremes of mood in this album that make it a frustrating release, although there are more ideas packed into the opening two tracks of this album than most bands manage in their lifetimes. If only they could manage it over a whole album and provide a middle ground between the psychedlic pop that begins this record with the meandering indulgence of the latter parts.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 25 Feb. 2015
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This review is from: Feels (Audio CD)
Music for my ears !! Made in Baltimore
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Feels
Feels by Animal Collective (Audio CD - 2013)
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