Scraps has finally had a chance to listen to Animal Collective, their 2005 album Feels specifically, and likes what he hears. This reminds me that I meant to post something about them last fall but did not, because I seem to be pathologically incapable of posting something quickly or spontaneously. . . Anyway, the occasion of that post would have been the re-release of their 2001 live album, Hollinndagain, which covers the period between Danse Manatee and Here Comes the Indian. I'd noticed an unfortunate tendency among reviewers to hail the release while lamenting the apparent turn away from the free-form noisy music of those records toward the more polished or, as some put it, "poppy" recent albums, such as Feels and Sung Tongs.
Don't get me wrong, I love the early Animal Collective recordings, especially Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished (which I was just cool enough to get when it was released by Avey Tare and Panda Bear, before the official Animal Collective name took hold) and Here Comes the Indian, and I would welcome a return to a more free-form approach. But not because there is anything wrong with what they've been doing. There is nothing to lament, not when they can make music as wonderful as that found on Feels. At around the same time that I meant to post on this, I spent about two days listening to that album's "Banshee Beat" on more or less continuous repeat. It might just be the most gorgeous eight-plus minutes of music released in the last few years.