First posted on echoesanddust.com.
Whacky pop-artists Animal Collective come out with their tenth studio album ‘Painting With’. The new album continues the sonic sound explorative sound so often seen on pretty much any Animal Collective album, utilising electronics to create an almost digital-sounding psychedelic sound. It’s a sound that those who know and love Animal Collective will find themselves completely immersing themselves within, and a sound those will confuse and push away those who have no idea what Animal Collective are trying to do. It’s dumfounding at times, but it’s that special headspace that no other band puts you into that keeps you returning to Animal Collective.
‘Painting With’ seems to abandon the mostly experimental, pure-psychedelic and frankly, more batshit sound of their previous album ‘Centipede Hz’, in favour of a more ‘accessible’ pop sound (or at least as ‘accessible’ as Animal Collective can ever sound’). There’s less otherworldly cosmic blowouts on the new album, which are replaced with more direct and urgent pop tracks. Much of the album seems to harken back to the absurdly popular ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’, mostly in thanks to featuring the same line-up, though perhaps ‘Painting With’ is a little easier on us all, and less of a sonic onslaught.
Maybe this is a criticism of the album. It’s certainly admirable how Animal Collective have produced such a bizarre and incomprehensible sound to such a popular place, but that craziness feels a little lost at times on ‘With Painting’. Some of the time, we’re presented with what feels like a slightly dumbed-down style of Animal Collective, with some tracks feeling mostly forgettable and failing to reach those absurdly dizzying heights of their previous works. The experimentation that adds that wonderful element to Animal Collective’s greatest works doesn’t really seem to be there this time.
‘Painting With’ is certainly an undeniable Animal Collective experience, one that entertains in such a confusing way, though it is perhaps a little less entertaining than the bands’ previous albums. There’s definitely some enjoyable track featured on the album, songs like opener ‘FloriDaDa’ are far too much fun to deny, whilst ‘On Delay’ features wonderfully layered synthetic elements and vocals that sound rich and delightful. ‘Painting With’ might falter on occasion, and fail to become the new ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ or better yet, the new ‘Feels’, though it is undeniably fun and whacky, which is just what one expects from Animal Collective anyway.
- ★★★☆☆ 3/5
- Hocus Pocus
- On Delay
- Golden Gal
Animal Collective’s latest album ‘Painting With’ is out now.