Nutshell Album Review: Animal Collective – Centipede Hz
Can the animal-themed indie kings do it again? Do they still have what it takes? Can they really compete with Merriweather Post Pavilion? People have been asking these speculative questions about Animal Collective in anticipation of their 9th LP Centipede Hz. Yes, it is not hard to comprehend that Merriweather Post Pavilion is their most popular album, nor is it hard to realize that there is a reason for that. But with a band like Animal Collective, it seems like it would be harder for them to make an unextraordinary album than to make a good one. So to all of the nay-sayers and the speculative question-askers, there is one simple answer to everything asked above.
“Moonjock” opens the album with a force. First off, you can never go wrong starting an album with a countdown, especially when you know that the five extra seconds of suspense may give people a heart attack. But for the survivors, congratulations because you’ve stumbled upon a treat. This song is able to throw together the beautiful pop sound of Merriweather Post Pavilion, the intensity and pure fun of Strawberry Jam, plus the impossible weirdness that was Sung Tongs. Anyone questioning this album’s legitimacy will shut up after their first listen of this song. “Today’s Supernatural” is the second track, the first single that is chock full of chants of “Let’s go!” from Avey Tare. Another taste of what fans were craving from the band that is also stuffed with aspects of older material. “Rosie Oh” is one that dabbles on the bizarre side of Animal Collective, complete with a quirky bass beat and a drum groove blended with fun, alien-like sound effects. “Applesauce” follows that, and good lord, you need to hear this song. If you’ve heard any Animal Collective album before, you know of their 6-minute, beautiful, indie pop ballads. This is one of those, and never have they done it any better.
“Wide Eyed” is track five of the LP, and that’s the easiest way to describe the way you’ll look by the time you make it through this song. Definitely one of the obscure ones of this album (who would expect anything different?) where percussion plays a huge role in creating the sound. Next is “Father Time”, which is a song that is destined to breed adventure. If you ever need a soundtrack to your non-path-taking hike through your local forest, build it around this song. “New Town Burnout” kicks off with a solid drum beat and synth bass lead in, with the band’s cooing harmonies overpowering your ear drums in what turns out to be a slow tempo and entrancing song. The song’s force picks up throughout, all keeping the same speed and hypnotizing sound. “Monkey Riches” is a high point of this album, with amazing vocal range being shown off, along with every instrument Animal Collective had in their homes. One of the fullest songs on the album, and definitely one for you to check out.
“Mercury Man” is one of the faster songs on the album, with a very poppy feel. It also has an effect that makes it sound like the band recorded inside of a shower, which transitions in and out. It sounds like something that would be distracting, but it was actually done very well. “Pulleys”, a continuation of “Mercury Man”, keeps the tempo (and shower sounds), but continues its own separate with a lot of loud-quiet contrasts. The album is then closed with “Amanita”, a song that morphs Panda Bear’s latest LP Tomboy with sounds heard on Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.’s album It’s A Corporate World. It doesn’t leave as much of an impact as the opening countdown, but it still is a great album closer that leaves most listeners asking when the next album is coming.
When Animal Collective sent out the release date for Centipede Hz, hipsters rejoiced that the famed electronic-psychedelic-indie-sort of rock-clan was returning. With the complete band back together (Deakin sat out of recording and touring for Merriweather Post Pavilion), they put all of their cards on the table, knocked them all on the ground, and said “let’s just doodle our own, new cards”. Centipede Hz gets a whopping 97/100 (see you later, Gossamer), and you can get it now. That means go get it now.
Centipede Hz Tracklisting:
- Today’s Supernatural
- Rosie Oh
- Wide Eyed
- Father Time
- New Town Burnout
- Monkey Riches
- Mercury Man