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Merriweather Post Pavilion CD
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Merriweather Post Pavillion
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Merriweather Post Pavilion is the ninth studio album from Animal Collective, recorded with Ben Allen in Oxford, Mississippi. After listening to this record, however, it's clear that Animal Collective have transcended the everyday realities of numbers, locations and people and arrived at a spectacular, unique place. Animal Collective have made a universal record that makes the same beautiful sense on headphones by day, or soundtracking the small hours of the morning / night, or, you suspect, stretched out in a field on your back. Whether a state of mind, or a rest stop somewhere along the way, Merriweather Post Pavilion magnificently redefines your sense of direction.
Merriweather Post Pavilion is, in every sense, a classic album. This record feels like a defining moment for Animal Collective, their generation and these times. Linear, wild and beautiful it's the sound of a band waiting, with arms open wide, to tell you about what they've found. And it's something pretty special.
Animal Collective's ninth album (no slackerdom for these Baltimore post-hippies!) has been so hotly anticipated that there's a danger of assessing their unclassifiable noise as nothing short of the second coming. Luckily the combination of Beach Boys harmonies, post-minimal dynamics and psychedelic free fall which has won them such a cult reputation breaks free here and takes full flight. Merriweather Post Pavilion is, you suspect, an album that you will return to for years to come.
It's an ecstatic sound that springs from going beyond conventional methodology. In the same way that, say, Brian Eno's Here Come The Warm Jets sounded like a rock album recorded by someone who had never heard rock (or even had an idea how what instruments to use) - Animal Collective deal in a love of sound for sound's sake. Beyond a basic grasp of the nuts and bolts of modern music they see no reason not to indulge in the kind of smorgasbord that still manages the neat trick of avoiding contrivance. Summertime Clothes begins with fuzz guitar loops and children's cries before descending into electro arpeggios. Elsewhere synth's chatter like Philip Glass on mushrooms, school bells ring, tribal drums mutter and over it all the joyous voice of Avey Tare (David Portner) - a sort of post-modern Jon Anderson, if you will - declaims obliquely. For instance, Taste seems to be a Buddhist meditation on the illusory nature of ego ("Am I really all the things that are outside of me?"): but don't quote me on that.
While the album's title references the Collective's formative years listening to the Grateful Dead in the Frank Gehry-designed auditorium in Maryland, the sound is less jam band than cut and paste collage. There's a distinctly more careful approach to the vocals here than on previous albums. Harmonies are sweeter, the repetition and processing are more subtle.
In terms of the band's development it's a giant step forward. In the same way that The Flaming Lips psychedelia was transmuted on Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, Merriweather Post Pavilion should easily see this square-pegness finally slipping into the round hole of wider appeal. In other words: a very palpable hit. --Chris Jones
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Top customer reviews
Deeper in love with it each time.
It's a proper record - unfolds and grows and has not dimmed - only burned brighter.
Look - we know some love some stuff and some don't. Some love blonde, some love red, some love big, some small, some boys, some girls, and some love to be alone.
I love this album.
The bad reviewers are entitled - but be careful ; surely you want to chance a fiver on something that has moved the earth for so many people rather than miss out. You might hate it yeah. But have a heart - it's a proper life changer if you dig it. Don't pass up that chance for goodness sake eh? Five quid for a possible favourite album ever! Go on.
A theory - it seems to me that the roots all modern rock music can be traced back in some form to 3 key sources the Velvet Underground's debut album, Pet Sounds & Smile by the Beach Boys and the wider work of the Beatles. Ok it's a vast over generalisation but stick with me. Animal Collective stand in the line of experimentation started by Brian Wilson that has clearly developed over time with a multitude of influences such as Mercury Rev, Grandaddy, Flaming Lips and Beck. Some including Alan McGee have even cited Hall and Oates. As a comparision "I can't go for that" (sorry) yet when MPP works it is joyful, transcending and breathtaking and I sort of know what he means.
Surely the point is that Animal Collective are a bunch of magpies who are "stealing with pride" and who in addition bring their own high level of originality and dreamy pop to create a new fusion that takes music into new realms. If you don't get it fair enough; but to these ears "My Girls" "Summertime Clothes" and "Lion in a coma" are classic pop songs which are infectious and innovative. "No more runnin" is wonderfully ambient and laidback as "Bluish" is exhilarating.
"My Girls" has already been re-mixed by a huge range of artists (the HATCHMATIX disco mix is especially good so to the Pitch Lab edit) and is vying for the song of the year. It will certainly be the soundtrack to the summer (certain songs seem destined to perform this feat like Supergrass "Alright" a few years back). What is equally healthy is that Animal Collective set a benchmark to which others will try to emulate and rise above. There is already friendly competition with the superb Grizzly Bear and hopefully all those British bands who are all starting to sound like the Editors might want to try a bit harder. Thank god for the Super Furry Animals in this respect who have also taken their freaky enthusiasms in constantly new directions. All in all Animal Collective on MPP are pushing hard at cutting edge of musical experimentation and offering something new (with caveats) and genuinely exciting. Their previous album Strawberry Jam especially the song Fireworks and Panda Bears "Person Pitch" are all massively entertaining.
I fully agree that in some critics eyes they are gathering so much attention it is disastrously unhip not to like or name check them. The album already seems to have already won the 2009 end of year poll only a few months in. Dirty Projectors "Bitte Orca" Phoenix's "Wolfgang Amaedeus" and Grizzly Bear's "Veckatimest" will provide stiff competition on this front. For those of you who dont get it deepest apologies but don't be down about it, just move on. The key test of MPP is very simple. Drive out on a beautiful day, wind the down windows, put your sunglasses on, place MPP in the car CD and play "Brother Sport" very loud and try not to smile. Go on give it another listen.
"Genres : Experimental; Noise Pop; Freak Folk;
Indie Rock; Neo-Psychedelia".
Crikey ! The Wolf was going to have to check this one out for sure.
Being an AC virgin their admirers will, of course,
be way ahead of me in appreciating the finer points
of this cracking little ensemble's handiwork.
First things first. It's pretty music.
Pretty strange too given that very little else has ever
emerged from the bowels of Baltimore that might be deemed
beautiful ( Mr Waters' marvelous films notwithstanding ).
The eleven tracks in this collection plough a fairly uniform
furrow but the bid to retain our attention is largely sustained.
The sound is dense, crystalline, homogenous.
The melodic, harmonic and rhythmic structure of the songs is
complex but approachable.
There are some real delights to be found here.
The gentle pulse of 'Bluish' embraces an engagingly warm
composition evocative of West Coast 60's tripedelia.
Rolf Harris's contribution to 'Lion In A Coma' did not go
unnoticed. It enhances one of the album's most jaunty and
Closing track 'Brother Sport' is saturated with Caribbean sunlight.
The whole experience made me think of what fish at the bottom
of a pond might hear if this music were played at a picnic
parked up beside the water's edge.
The fish are dancing !
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