Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Breakfast at the Merriweather Post Pavilion (Part I)

Apparently the Merriweather Post Pavilion is an amphitheater in Maryland. Thanks, Google. For our purposes, it's also a highly praised Animal Collective album.

(Part 1 of a potentially Infinity-Part Series intended to be a running diary of our experiences listening to Animal Collective’s latest, Merriweather Post Pavilion, which has already been coronated the Best Album of 2009 by blogs and critics alike. We’lll see about that.)

In full disclosure, I am a complete Animal Collective (AC, from here on out) newbie. I know that I was supposed to have lost my mind and saliva to the sounds of Strawberry Jam or, if I were cooler, some earlier album years ago. But I didn’t. I’ve always been AC-curious, with all the hip hype and posting praises being sung. So, as part of my New Year’s Resolution to be less musically narrow, I’m jumping in.

Appropriately, my first taste of AC was the song Taste. I immediately like it. I’m not sure how the video game glitchy stuff will age for me with repeated listens, but it feels good today. In some ways, this is what I expected after reading up on AC: good, poppy melodies with texturey, sometimes crowded, active production. There’s a lot going on. No one will accuse them of minimalism. But I can appreciate the unbridled indulgence in this careful economy.

Do they get compared to the Shins a lot? I haven't loked. The voice for sure has some of the same -isms. And the melodies they choose also share the Shins’ (and to some degree New Pornographers) leanings towards undeniably hooky but rewardingly unexpected lines. It’s hooky, but not in the radio-targeted way that the hitmakers write for the Kelly Clarksons and Avril Lavignes of the world.

So far so good.

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