Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam

You may have noticed by now that when I get excited about something, I get really effing excited. Call it a character flaw, I guess.

Although it may be a little premature, I’m going out on a limb here and declaring that Strawberry Jam marks the second entry Panda Bear will have on my top 10 of ’07. Let’s just say, some shit’s gonna have to go down real fast if he’s going to get bumped from the list.

As a follow-up to Person Pitch, his brilliant solo record released earlier this year, Panda Bear joins back up with his Animal Collective cohorts for another round of the madness that has become so familiar and unmistakably characteristic of the band. This time however, they seem to have continued on in the direction hinted at on the first half of Feels, their last full-length. On Strawberry Jam, we find the band immediately more accessible than the vast majority of their previous work. On "For Reverend Green," clearly the highlight of the album, Avey Tare bubbles over the edges with what can only be described as (trust me, if I could have used another term I would have) raw emotion. Barely able to restrain himself long enough to croon perhaps the strongest melody in the Animal Collective catalogue, he erupts into the chorus with fits of hysteria finally shrieking “a lucky child don’t know how lucky she is.” All I can say is, if you don’t feel something on this one, then you don’t feel at all.

With all this talk of a poppier, more accessible Collective, you might be worried that they’ve sold out. Fear not. They’ve sacrificed none of the head-scratching eyebrow-raising quirkiness that we fell in love with in the first place. You’re still going to need to be prepared to defend your sanity if you pop in Strawberry Jam at a party. What I’ve always loved about Animal Collective is that they make it easy for me to tell who my true friends are… they’re the ones who still invite me to parties.


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Also, check out this early live version of "For Reverend Green"

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