I’ve never been a complete Animal Collective fan. So when everybody told me to check out their last album Merriweather Post Pavilion in 2009, I decided to put my personal feelings aside and give it a listen. Although it was said to be their most accessible album yet, I found it incredibly spacious and rather repetitive. The album never clicked for me, and to a lesser extent still hasn’t (“My Girls” has grown on me quite considerably). Now, three years later, the now quartet is releasing it’s tenth studio album Centipede Hz…and I like it.
The first two tracks “Moonjock” and “Today’s Supernatural” set up the album so well. “Moonjock” is a trippy stomp where both vocalist Avey Tare and Panda Bear really shine when they harmonize. Then “Today’s Supernatural” kicks in and kicks your ass, with a catchy lyrical phrase (“Let let let let let let let let go”) jumping in and out while incredibly odd and memorable instrumentation (like on most tracks on the album). “Applesauce” is a catchy, light-hearted skip in the middle of the album, helping lessen the mood of being rushed from the previous tracks.
Sonically, this album reminds me of a modern day Beatles album. NOTE: I did not say it was as good as one. The album is incredibly cohesive – none of the songs sound out of place. There are some downers along the way, but they aren’t bad in the realm of the album as a whole. Think of Centipede Hz like Animal Collective’s Sgt. Peppers. Although it is a tad bit weird, it is still classic Animal Collective, just with a lot more touch ups and out there instrumentation.
The real problem I have with Centipede is its length. Clocking in at about 54 minutes, Centipede drags on towards the end. Once “New Town Burnout” started up, I tuned out. The rest of the album from then on just kind of dragged behind me, then having to go back and check them out individually. Trust me, the rest is pretty good, but going from top to bottom with Centipede could do this to you. Also, I wish the two song EP they put out for Record Store Day, containing the songs “Honeycomb” and “Gotham,” made it on the album. I do recommend you pick up those singles after the album, and maybe wonder what could’ve been – especially the latter. And because that would just make the album longer, you would then start cutting some unnecessary fat, like “Father Time,” a song that comes across to me like an advanced Shins recording (especially in the way that Avey Tare delivers his vocal performance).
I’m not a hater of complexity, which could be why some might think that Merriweather didn’t appeal to me and Centipede did. Though Centipede was pretty complex in its own rights, the less it did, the more I enjoyed it. Animal Collective is still raw and psychedelic, but they might have turned that down only to up the . And for those who still say Merriweather is their most accessible; no. That title belongs to Centipede Hz.
Final Grade: B
Go Download: “Today’s Supernatural”