6 hours ago
Thursday, January 15
Review: Merriweather Post Pavilion
(I'm posting this here for the moment. It'll be on drop-d too)
If the internet hype is to be believed, the arrival of Animal Collective's latest long player heralds the dawning of a new musical era bidding us to board the Spaceship Geologist with a gaggle of lysergobot friends and fly away to planet Panda Bear with headphones superglued to our ears and Merriweather Post Pavilion on constant loop.
But Public Enemy's Chuck D has been proven wrong. Believe the hype.
Merriweather Post Pavilion (named for a renowned Maryland venue where, in 1969, Led Zeppelin and The Who performed on the same bill for the one and only time in their respective careers) is a rare album indeed.
David 'Avey Tare' Portner, Noah 'Panda Bear' Lennox and Brian 'Geologist' Weitz are without MIA bandmate Josh 'Deakin' Dibb this time but his absence is far from inhibiting. Instead they fill the vacancy with such a gallimaufry of blissed-out, grooving, harmonised euphoria it's as though the missing link between Brian Wilson and Kompakt has now been defined so clearly we should wonder why it doesn't just sprout legs and dance to its own subsonic groove.
While accusations of psych-folk and inaccessibility have been levelled at the band before, MPP takes everything the 'Collective have been about for so long - Panda Bear's sublime solo album Person Pitch included - and becomes the album that will define them for many years to come.
The album kicks off with the gorgeously ominous gloop of In The Flowers which drifts around for two minutes before giving way to a pulsating beat that threatens to drive the song through the roof. Following this is My Girls, with its Beach Boys harmonies, lyrical focus and singalong melody. Summertime Clothes is dripping with techno reverie and a dizzying joy whilst pondering the wonders of night-time wanderings and Bluish brings the gloop back and speckles it with more harmony and sheer warmth than you could shake a pointed stick at.
There's not a duff track here and the closing pair of woozy paean No More Runnin' and the ecstatic, techno-flirting Brother Sport mean you depart this album on a giddy high that would normally be difficult to reach without necking a brace of particularly chalky and bitter little chaps.
On every listen it is possible to get something different from Merriweather Post Pavilion - a vocal you hadn't previously absorbed, a sound you hadn't picked up on fully – and the definitively welcoming vibe of what is very much a product of the digital age gives us a dance album with a palpable heart and soul, an electronic album with a real voice, a record that sets the bar stupidly high, not just for a few bands, but for contemporary music in general.
Fuck overstating it; if anything I'm selling it short.
Make no mistake, the snozzberries taste like snozzberries. This is how music is meant to sound.