CD Review: Animal Collective 

Fall Be Kind (Domino)

It could be argued that Animal Collective should stick to EPs. The group's tripped-out sonic concepts are most effective in limited-format bursts. Exhibit A: last year's exhilaratingly wiggy Water Curses EP. Exhibit B: the new five-track Fall Be Kind, an immersive bit of oddity that runs counter to the poppier straightforwardness of January's full-length Merriweather Post Pavilion.

"Graze" opens with expansively Disney-fied ambient grandeur, then detours into sinister electronic hem-hawing before exploding into May-Day pan-flute mayhem. "On a Highway" drowsily celebrates the banalities and wonders of mind-numbing, between-shows drives. "I woke against a window that's caked in cold saliva," Avey Tare moans against a matrix of cascading, in-the-round wordlessness, stick-on-stick percussion and iridescent drone. Much has been made of the fact that "What Would I Want? Sky" borrows from the Grateful Dead's "Unbroken Chain" — it's the first cleared Dead sample. But the outcome is indisputably Animal Collective: loop-de-looped vocals and ambling sonics, recombinant and shimmering in buoyant color-clash, bemusement and glory, a triumphant weightlessness that feels a lot like transcendence. — Ray Cummings


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