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LITERATURE

 » Full Dark, No Stars - Stephen King's new novella questions mankind's ability to trust others.
[02.21.2011 by Bridget Doyle]

MUSIC

 » The Top 30 Albums of 2010 - Fashionably, fabulously late, our favorite music (and believe me, there was a LOT) of 2010, the year that some have called the best year for music ever. And only some of those fools work here. Plenty of usual suspects, lots of ties and a few surprises that I won't spoil, including our unexpected #1.
[12.24.2010 by The LAS Staff]

MUSIC

 » Live: Surfer Blood/The Drums at Lincoln Hall, Chicago, IL - Remember when Weezer used to put together records that you could sing along to and rock out to? That's what Surfer Blood's show was like!
[11.04.2010 by Cory Tendering]

Music Reviews

Screaming Females - Castle Talk
»Screaming Females
Castle Talk
Don Giovanni
Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross - The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
»Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross
The Social Network [Original Soundtrack]
The Null Corporation
Deerhunter - Halcyon Digest
»Deerhunter
Halcyon Digest
4AD
No Age - Everything in Between
»No Age
Everything in Between
Sub Pop
Robyn - Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
»Robyn
Body Talk Pt. 1/ Body Talk Pt. 2
Konichiwa
The Walkmen - Lisbon
»The Walkmen
Lisbon
Fat Possum
Animal Collective
Feels
Fat Cat

Rating: 9/10 ?


January 2, 2006
If it were possible to be freaked out by a catchy tune, you can bet your ass that Animal Collective would be responsible. Whether they're whispering over meandering guitar loops or exploding in a fit of tribal chants, the AC maintain a constant oneness with their tunes. But while most bands would stop there, Animal Collective emit a darker bi-product, one that will surely disturb those enticed by their charm. Listening to Feels accordingly feels like watching a freaky old children's film, like The Wizard of Oz or something. But for those faced with it, aversions are simply not an option.

Whether or not this oddball element of Animal Collective's composition is derived from their early noise-explorations, it certainly is what makes them tick. Feels' awesome degree of diversity elevates it instantly, and it is thus barely comprehendible in its entirety within the first two or three listens. The details are numerous but not not always obvious, the group often opting for subtlety.

The most striking aspect of Feels, when compared to Sung Tongs (in itself, possibly one of the best albums of the decade so far), is that Animal Collective have regrouped in their entirety - the pack hereby documented as a six-piece. Feels subsequently sounds layered, and consists of two or three relatively straight-up rock songs; "Did You See the Words," "Grass," and "The Purple Bottle" instantly present themselves as the most buoyant and, dare I say, accessible cuts.

Upon beholding this side of Animal Collective it is made abundantly clear that the band are enjoying every moment of their trans-atmospheric journey. While there is na´vetÚ conveyed in their shunning of conventional pop music's constraints, there is a stronger sense of deliberation, as if they would have had it no other way; every shriek, buzz and clutter is documented for a reason, and Feels sounds better for it.

Animal Collective's climaxes are, however, far from the be-all and end-all of Feels. The likes of "Flesh Canoe" and the excellent "Bees" see the band diminish in terms of their dynamics, and perhaps represent a freer exploration of sound. "Loch Raven," perhaps the most haunting few minutes on offer, takes the band's multifaceted personality to another level. Largely linear in terms of structure, it follows an eerie synth loop, laced with the band's trademark hushed vocal entanglements, each member using his voice as an instrument rather than in the traditional sense. Feels' more effortless cuts are subdued, limitless, and suited to emphasise the Collective's intermittent bursts of intensity.

Feels may see Animal Collective sneak into the public eye a little more. Whether or not they settle, their very presence is healthy for contemporary music. Here is a band genuinely breaking new ground with each venture, and apparently having a ball on the way. Ten points to anyone who can pigeonhole Animal Collective.

Reviewed by Mike Wright
A staff writer based in London, England, Mike Wright is eternally troubled by the American bastardization of the English language.

See other reviews by Mike Wright

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