Keeping the manic-album reviewing train-a-rolling, here is New Album Round-Up #2!!!
CENTIPEDE HZ by Animal Collective: Animal Collective are awesome for many reasons, but the biggest reason I love them is this–with each new album the band’s popularity grows and yet, they refuse to pander to dumb their music down. Unlike say, Kings of Leon, who have opted to make shit-loads of money buy churning out Mom Rock, Animal Collective say “fuck it” and keep making the records they want to make. I get the feeling that mainstream success never factored into their goals as a band. Upon a brief, initial listen, I was pretty unimpressed with CENTIPEDE HZ. I found it very dense and a bit uninviting. Then I spent more time with it, and my appreciation has really grown for this record.
The songs are long and defy the conventional pop sensibility. CENTIPEDE HZ is bright and busy, each song’s every nook and cranny is filled to the brim. Standout tracks include “Applesauce” and “Today’s Supernatural.” I’d like to say that the former is the closest thing to a single on the record, but I’m not going to kid you–none of these songs are singles. Animal Collective’s music is so far removed from things like singles that it makes it really hard to talk (or write) about it. It’s better to not think and let the freaky music wash-over you.
In many ways, CENTIPEDE HZ confirms what I’ve long-maintained: Animal Collective are the heir apparent to Brian Wilson. Beach Boy fans who plug into CENTIPEDE HZ might not immediately understand, but think about it: this type of sunny, long-form freakout married with intricate layers studio trickery screams B. Wilson. Listen to the electro-Caribbean groove of “Father Time” if you need proof. This is daring, inventive music that demands repeat listens for full appreciation.
My only complaint is that album cover. I know that in 2012 album covers aren’t a big deal…but what the fuck? Hands-down CENTIPEDE HZ has the worst album cover of the year, it’s super-ugly.