, the latest album by New York's Animal Collective, is a step toward accessibility by the busy, constantly side-projecting art-noise experimentalists. A lush fantasia of strummed and picked acoustic guitars, layered Pet Sounds
vocal harmonies, and tin-can percussion (held together with a woozy production job sympathetic to stoners wearing headphones), the disc is a teen-pop romp compared to older Collective records such as last year's Here Comes the Indian
, which sounded like Black Flag playing with instruments fashioned from wooden sticks and bundled strands of grass after the group had been lost in a forest near a freeway for a year.
Live, the Collective takes considered steps back toward loose backyard-drum-circle experimentalism, just like the art-damaged big-city post-hippies they are; Sung Tongs' cheery almost-songs include plenty of room for onstage manipulation -- the CD's chewy middle section is as jam-happy as an eBayed Dave Matthews bootleg -- so don't expect the band to fulfill the popwise aspirations its most Simon & Garfunkel-style moments suggest. But do expect to trip the heck out.