Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars let let let let let me gooooooooo, 4 Sep 2012
This review is from: Centipede Hz (Audio CD)
Animal Collective have been trying almost singlehandedly, to drag alternative rock music into the future for well over a decade now and for their commitment alone I think they deserve considerable praise. Retro, retro, retro is what so many bands have been content to strive for in the 21st century, so it's always comforting to know that when Avey, Panda, Geologist and Deakin get together you're going to hear something truly original. Centipede HZ the bands ninth studio album follows this brave formula and even though I'm not totally in love with every song on here, I'm happy to report that for the most part it's another triumph for the Baltimore band.

Animal Collective's serpentine mantra of constant evolution has meant that Centipede Hz has only a few remnants of what made their 2009 breakthrough album Merriweather Post Pavilion such a unanimous success. Instead they've opted for a more Chaotic and live feel this time round, with explosive percussion, Mutant guitar and Avey tares frenetic vocals featuring heavily on most of these songs. Producer Ben Allen has been brought back again though and the inviting pop tinged electronic sheen he helped to perfect on MPP is the one thing he's managed to carry over onto Centipede HZ.

This hybrid has created some of the most unique songs of 2012, "Todays Supernatural" has been circulating for a while now but its carnivelesque instrumentation, ¾ time and Avey Tare's bug eyed mini chorus still make it a bewildering listen after repeated spins. "Applesauce" "Father Time" and "Monkey Riches" are also completely unhinged but utterly beguiling in the way only an Avey Tare fronted song can be. His vocal screeches on these songs strike a fascinating balance between Billy Corgan's yelp and Black Francais's growl and sonically the plethora of noise and melody the aforementioned songs are packed with, threaten to overload the cerebal cortex to the state of combustion. That may not sound particularly appealing on paper but if you're into extreme, futuristic pop you'll be sure to get a kick out of hearing these songs.

The less abrasive moments on the album certainly come as a welcome addition though; "Rosie OH" is one of the few songs where Panda Bear takes microphone duties and although there are still a tonne of electronic effects and goodness knows what else polluting the track, his mellower voice helps to keep you invested in the crazy cacophony that follows. Deakin also sings for the first time too on "Wide Eyed" and it's another opportunity for the listener to catch his breath, as his voice is also rather sedate and accessible in comparison to Avey Tare's.

The otherworldy maelstrom the band have whipped up on Centipede HZ make it tempting to label it their Saucerful of Secrets, but I think that description implies AC have suddenly gotten a lot more serious again ala Here Comes The Indian. I don't feel this album is meant to genuinely freak you out; it's essentially a thrill ride of experimental fun with the band openly inviting you join in at particular moments (just listen to the laughs at the end of "Wide Eyed" and the goofiness of "Applesauce". As I alluded to earlier there were times where I found myself a little drained by all of the giddiness and eccentricity, nevertheless I'm charmed by their continued enthusiasm to still bring something new to table 12 years into their career, CHZ it's not as ground-breaking as MPP or as flat out brilliant as Sung Tongs or Feels but it Is undeniably as eclectic as those impressive works. Chicha music, avant-garde, Electronica and a myriad of other genres have been brought together on Centipede HZ to create a thoroughly exciting tour de force of indefatigable pop.
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