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20 Watts Reviews Animal Collective’s Fall Be Kind EP by JohnCassillo

Animal Collective deliver once again with their latest EP Fall Be Kind

PREVIEW: VISIT Animal Collective’s MySpace
WE GIVE IT: 17/20 Watts

Met with the difficult task of following up one of the year’s best albums, Merriweather Post Pavillion, Animal Collective‘s Fall Be Kind was dared to deliver a product most acts would cower from.  Lucky for us, the band that continues to rise to, and set the bar for the challenges of today’s music scene, was up for the assignment.

Fall Be Kind is everything Merriweather Post Pavillion is not. It’s raw, unstructured and loose. The tamed, harnessed pop conventions are gone, and in their place dance wild and schizophrenic sonic experiments in the mold of the band’s earlier material. Instead of aiming to recreate the sound of January’s hit album, Animal Collective remade their old sound in their new, more electronically-altered image.

Powered by looping samples and catchy, chanting repetition, the EP’s tracks shift gears constantly from high to low energy. Songs like “Graze” and “I Think I Can” are some of the most intriguing, trippy arrangements the band has assembled since 2003’s Here Comes the Indian, and the constant tempo shift leaves listeners comfortably off-guard.

And then there’s “What Would I Want? Sky.” Borrowing from the Grateful Dead‘s “Unbroken Chain,” the track’s initially perceived complexity gives way to a basic and continuous loop as infectious as anything they’ve every put out. It’s the perfect blend of the band’s respective styles from past and future, a juxtaposition of tribal vocals and crazed, frenzied electronic noise. By the end of the song, you’re forcefully convinced of its multifaceted, stunning ode to joy.  If not for the likes of  “My Girls,” “Who Could Win a Rabbit” and “Water Curses”– the band’s more firmly established contributions to the past decade’s pop landscape– it would surely stand staggeringly above the rest of the anthology.

Combining their more traditionally disassembled ambience with the euphoric electronic pop of their previous album, Animal Collective have once again produced a unique and sonically remarkable piece of work. Though comprised of just five tracks, the Fall Be Kind EP makes its mark as the start of yet another chapter in the band’s increasingly-prolific career. I, for one, can’t wait to hear what’s next.

— John Cassillo, Reviews Editor

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