Undoubtedly, Animal Collective boasts a vast, eclectic and (sometimes) challenging repertoire. However, Merriweather Post Pavilion, the group’s ninth and most accessible offering, may be the most polarizing amongst fans. Gone are the drone examinations, freak folk structures and Avey Tare’s shamanistic yelps, replaced with dub-informed booty bass, concise verse-chorus anthems, dance rhythms and polyphonic vocal harmonies.
Newer Animal Collective fans will enjoy the seamless amalgamation of sonic exploration and pop music, combining the bit-crushing texture of earlier work like Danse Manitee with the beat-heavy, soaring melodies of Panda Bear’s sophomore solo record Person Pitch. Fans of Sung Tongs and before will scratch their heads wondering where their strange friends went.
Merriweather Post Pavilion is an enjoyable listen and certainly the next logical next step in the context of Animal Collective’s trajectory, adding increasing pop sensibility with each release. Unfortunately, this statement isn’t the envelope-pushing psych quest that Here Comes the Indian or Feels offered.