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4.6 out of 5 stars
Strawberry Jam
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
on 19 September 2007
Animal Collective have struck gold once again with their latest release, "Strawberry Jam". They are one of the few bands around who have a fresh approach with each album whilst retaining elements that made them so distinctive in the first place.

Some reviews for this album have mentioned that "Strawberry Jam" is their most accessible release so far but to be honest it's more abrasive and frantic than their previous album "Feels" which was dreamy and relaxed by comparison.

"Cuckoo Cuckoo" for example starts off slow and haunting before exploding into a chaotic burst of wild noise and intense vocals. "For Reverend Green" has short bursts of screaming too and the guitars sound pretty menacing and distorted.

What is more accessible, I suppose, is the tracks have a more traditional composition in that there are distinctive verse and chorus parts to the songs. Some of their previous work favoured longer more abstract structures that slowly unravelled and changed.

Animal Collective greatest strength is their ability to combine very strong melodies with experimental elements. "Peacebone" for example starts with a bizarre electronic noise that somehow merges itself into the guitar and drums (the video is fantastic by the way). "For Reverend Green" is intense but has some really melodic backing vocals (it's also my favourite track). "Fireworks" is playful and contains some catchy vocals, heavily treated guitar and melodic piano parts.

"Chores" and "Derek" appear to be sung by Panda Bear and the latter track certainly resembles something from "Person Pitch" which he released earlier this year. These tracks are light hearted and upbeat although still retaining the group's slightly odd approach to music.

However it is Avey Tares vocals that seem to dominate the album and appear higher in the mix than normal. Some people aren't keen on his vocal style but personally I love the way he uses his voice. His lyrics are occasionally surreal and sometimes there is a hint of sadness and nostalgia present.

The majority of "Strawberry Jam" is lively and psychedelic and the more relaxed and dreamy side to their music is almost completely absent. This is not to say that the album lacks atmosphere, far from it, but the focus seems to be on the noisier side of their collective personality. "# 1" is quite mellow except for the disturbing heavily treated vocals that give it a creepy edge. Samples and background noises are also more prominent too which gives the album another dimension.

So overall it is another great album, different but brilliant. The songs sound fresh and inspired and I've listened to nothing else since it was released. I've no idea what they'll do next but I can't wait.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 27 September 2007
It's true, I did wake up this morning full of an ageing mans' woes. As a remedial measure, I decided to listen to my new arrival, 'Strawberry Jam". It was the right thing to do...AC have a rare talent, they make me smile, not so much with amusement, but with pleasure. Pascal Comelade has the same affect on me, as do 'The Fiery Furnaces", and it is perhaps no surprise that I find resonances of both musicians in Animal Collective. The music is complex, clever and inventive, often sounding like the strangest fairground sideshow underpinned by a Philip Glass foundation. I'm also tempted to say 'Band of Holy Joy' meets 'Eyeless in Gaza', or 'Clap your Hands, Say Yeah' meets 'Steve Reich', but those kind of comparisons are very subjective, and I don't wish to paint AC critically speaking into a corner at a time when their freshness and exuberance serve them so well.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 29 June 2008
I saw Animal Collective in Summer 2007, after falling in love with such an original and mesmerising sound and was blown away by their live performance. Little did I know that what we heard that evening was to become Strawberry Jam a few months later, and what an exciting arrangement of music it is. Throwing noises and rhythmic sounds with a subtle electronic upbeat style AC have done it again, creating in my opinion one of the best albums of last year.
You just have to hear the opening of Peacebone to understand what I mean. Overall a completely otherworldly sensual experience with the highlights of Reverend Green, Fireworks and of course the magnificent Peacebone. If you enjoy the wave of new experimental audio or are looking for something completely different, ceck out Animal Collective and Strawberry Jam.
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on 16 April 2012
I simply have to pass my own opinion of this record, it is truly fantastic. As it has been said many times, AC's work is somewhat divisive, some of my friends love it but some just don't get it - put off by the occasional screams, the dripping sounds and the traffic noises, too surreal and new for their boring, mainstream, conventional tastes. Animal Collective's work is so organic, so imaginative, that it conjures up sublime psychedelic pop unlike anything you will have ever heard of before. It's very difficult being an Animal Collective fan because you tell people and they just have no clue who they are - people prefer instant gratification in the likes of Travis or The Killers, while with Animal Collective it may take a few listens to really 'get' it - but believe me, it is so worth it - you will be justly rewarded. 'Peacebone', 'Unsolved Mysteries' and 'Winter Wonderland' are three of my favourites, while 'Derek' is just so incredibly catchy, I never though a lighthearted song about a childhood pet could turn out to be so brilliant. The double of 'For Reverend Green' and 'Fireworks' is the best work they had ever done (until their latest album). These guys will never support a Coldplay gig, but maybe that's a good thing.

This album may change your life and by simply listening to it you will have joined a select group of people with the willingness to try new things. Give it a few listens, and if you haven't done so already, buy Merriweather Post Pavilion, their later album as it is like this but on another level.
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on 8 September 2009
I first heard '#1' on a CD sampler from Uncut magazine and was greatly impressed
and then read the 4 star reviews in Q and Uncut magazines and decided to buy
the album. WHAT A GREAT DECISION. This is glorious stuff and kind of hard to
catergorise into one genre. Parts of it remind me of the prodigy's aggressive
hard riffs and rhythms and other parts are like the chemical brothers dreamy
spaced out music.

Songs like 'Peacebone', 'chores', '#1' and 'Derek' are absolutely brilliant
and are worth 10 out of 10 and as for the best track on the album 'For
Reverend Green' this is easily worth 11 out of 10. This song contains so
many different little vocal and musical hooks that after a two or three
hearings you are hooked and want to hear it again and again. If you like
your music unusual, unique, original and challenging. BUY THIS ALBUM.
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on 8 January 2008
I'm not sure how this happened, this isn't the Animal Collective I know! Where's the aimless folk and forced quirkiness? Their earlier albums passed me by completely, yet Strawberry Jam is one of the finest pop records released this side of the millennium, with each track exploding with glorious flashes of colour after every note. Yeah, the lyrics verge on nonsensical far too often, yet there's a sincerity to it all, not just recalling and mourning times gone by but celebrating them. This is childish in the best way possible.

"I want to get so stoned / And take a walk out in the light drizzle
At the end of the day / When there's no one watching"

Sounds like a plan, Avey. Count me in.
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on 14 July 2011
animal collective are probably one of the weirdest bands you will ever hear and i suppose they're like marmite you love them or you hate them.

this album is good, not great. peacebone is a good song,but unsolved mysteries ,chores ,#1 ,cuckoo cuckoo and winterwonderland dont really do it for me.

then there's for reverend green and fireworks which is, seriously some of the best music ive ever heard. ive really never heard anything like it and how they did it is beyond me.these are what makes the album 4 stars,and worth buying,if the other songs were abit better then it would deffinatly be 5 stars
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 5 September 2007
This is great! It's like a really hectic, psychedelic mixture of They Might Be Giants, The Beach Boys, The Beta band and loads of other great stuff all mixed up with weird dinosaur and traffic noise thrown in for good measure. This is my favourite of their albums so far and I'd argue it's the most accessible but still potentially off-putting for the unintitiated - Stick with it as there are some gorgeous melodies buried under all that clutter.
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on 18 August 2014
Made during my favourite era of Animal Collective...Feels and this!
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on 27 October 2014
"Bonefish!"
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