Album Review: Animal Collective – Painting With

By on Thursday, 3rd March 2016 at 12:00 pm
 

Animal Collective - Painting With album cover There’s no band around that have a sound quite like Animal Collective. If not flitting between electronic and straight up abstract, they manage to craft the most peculiar tracks from the most normal of sounds. With their return album ‘Paint With’, the Baltimore group remove the reverberant element found on their earlier material and instead rely upon the instantaneousness of sharp instrumentation and noise.

Leading single from the record ‘FloriDada’ may seem like a throwaway attempt to mildly mock the southern American state, but it’s more than likely a nod toward the influences of Dadaism, a French art movement that specialises in the abstract, something that Animal Collective certainly are natural at creating. The composition of the track is tribal in its use of drums and chanting, and the chorus has an infectious quality which follows you long after the album is finished. It’s definitely a strong, albeit mildly chaotic, start.

Things die down, which itself is a term lightly used, on the second track ‘Hocus Pocus’. It’s much more of a wandering track that uses a mildly minimalistic approach, with a small synthesiser pattern and a repetitive drum line taking the reins. There’s also John Cale playing a viola processed to create a low droning, because having just a vocal take would be boring.

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDXCjtEF6-Q[/youtube]

‘Vertical’ refers back to the organised chaos of ‘FloriDada’, vocals contributing to the bulk of this chaos. Voices flit between both speakers, until the bridge hits where suddenly the en-tire instrumentation is unable to remain rooted and cascades around the stereophonic field your head creates. Although Animal Collective aren’t for everyone, they certainly have the production side of things nailed, with the best medium to listen to this album being headphones. It can be overwhelming at times, but there is still a certain element of fun about it that keeps you going.

The majority of the album takes on the form of the latter three tracks. Strangely for an album that references such an abstract movement, the abstractness is very one-sided. The cycle of random noises, a beat and vocals that try their hardest to make you believe there are genuinely voices in your head is one that is rinsed and repeated throughout. There is also a fair amount of samples from various TV shows or films used at the entrance to select songs, which, in a way, act as a buffers, creating a segue that refreshes the journey throughout this record.

Album closer ‘Recycling’ is where the journey ends, and you get the sense that the break Animal Collective took between this and their last album has renewed whatever energy or creative hub they utilise to create such experimental sounds. The track is almost a summary point in its playful use of high tones and sounds throughout the outro, with knowledge and acceptance that is geared toward the fact you’ve made it through the album and at this point, you may have gone a bit insane.

The record is a listen that, depending on your frame of mind, could either be something completely enlightening or just straight up enveloping and oppressive. Whichever side of the field you fall you, there is a certain aspect that you just can’t deny of Animal Collective. They are, by no means, conforming to the standard ideals of musical composition and will use any sound possible to create whatever their collective minds can conjure.

6/10

‘Painting With’, Animal Collective’s newest album, is out now on Domino Records. To read more on Animal Collective on TGTF, go here.

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