Animal Collective takes a gentler approach on new album |

Animal Collective takes a gentler approach on new album

Daily Staff ReportsVail, CO Colorado
Animal Collective's latest, Merriweather Post Pavilion is a rare blend of experimental, avant-garde bluster and beautiful melodies

Merriweather Post Pavilion Domino Recording Co.3.5 stars of 5The ninth full-length album by Animal Collective is that rare blend of experimental, avant-garde bluster and beautiful melodies and vocals that eludes so many bands in the same category. Usually you get a bunch of pretentious noise that makes you feel like you wasted your money. Merriweather Post Pavilion is as accessible as it is elusive, as enjoyable as it is challenging. Sure, it can get a little annoying sometimes, especially when it feels like they are just making noise and that does happen occasionally here, but not as much as one would expect. Thankfully, on this outing, the laboratory efforts of Animal Collective are minimal and dont ever really fall into the money poorly spent category. Things are pretty balanced on this effort, which pays off big for the listener.My Girls is a delightful blend of vocal harmonies over synthesizers and electronic drums that feels somewhat like a lazy, overcast summer day in which the sun could break through the clouds at any moment. In fact, much of the album has that same feel. Its only in songs like Lions In A Coma and Brother Sport where the album sheds its psychadelic-techno mold for more upbeat, rambling fun.Merriweather Post Pavilion is a good starting point for those interested in checking out Animal Collective its easy on the ears but wont let your brain loose interest. Charlie Owen, High Life Writer

Silence is Wild Secretly Canadian3.5 stars of 5The way Swedish singer-songwriter Frida Hyvonens voice sneaks into the wordless doo-wop chorus of Dirty Dancing sounds so sincere, it completely disarms you within the first two minutes of her second full-length CD, Silence is Wild. That sincerity opens the song up to become a first-person account in the style of the movie Dirty Dancing of a deeply flawed first love with a boy who would become a chimney sweep: I guess you do the dirty now and I do the dancing / And once we were Baby and Johnny / In a small boring town where the winters were long / And our real names were Frida and Jimmy.Most of the songs on Silence is Wild are like this: Orchestrated carefully around Hyvonens acquired-taste of a voice and sparse piano playing to highlight whatever theme shes tackled in her desperation-tinged lyrics.Thanks to the full, wall-of-sound production on a handful of songs on Silence, Hyvonens music stays buoyant. London! is a frothy, perfect pop song, and Birds moves along on quick strings and keyboards. Those touches make starkly personal accounts such as December and Why Do You Love Me So Much stand out the way they should. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & TodayAndrew BirdNoble Beast Fat Possum RecordsIn such lean times, its a pleasure to have something as generous as Andrew Birds Noble Beast. The Chicago-based singer/songwriter/violinist has tiptoed at the edges of making a definitive record for many albums. On Noble Beast, he pares back his self-consciously virtuosic playing and focuses on perfect sounds and turns of melody.During his live sets, Bird builds rafters-shaking string arrangements with the aid of a looping pedal, but on Beast he treats his violin as one complementary instrument among many. Not a Robot, but a Ghost adds grimy drum loops and sun-damaged Tropicalia guitar to his repertoire, while Nomenclature swells to a climax of vocal harmonies and ambient distortion.Even his more traditional fare feels refined to essential ideas, like on Tenuousness, where Birds operatic whistling sidles up to front-porch guitar picking. This isnt Birds pop record per se; his affection for lyrics such as From proto-Sanskrit Minoans to Porto-centric Lisboans would have a hard run at radio. But Beast is his most instantly inviting album by far and vividly underscores his skills as a producer. August Brown, L.A. Times/ Washington Post

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