Artist: Animal Collective
Format: Double LP Gatefold Sleeve
Label: Fat Cat <<Splinter Series>>
Catalogue Number: FAT-SP11LP
Year of Release: 2005
A1 Did You See The Words (5:15)
A2 Grass (2:59)
A3 Flesh Canoe (3:44)
B1 The Purple Bottle (6:48)
B2 Bees (5:38)
C1 Banshee Beat (8:22)
C2 Daffy Duck (7:34)
D1 Loch Raven (4:59)
D2 Turn Into Something (6:29)
I started making notes for this review whilst listening to it last night, when I got in from the pub. I was clear-headed enough to realise that writing the post directly was a bad idea, but drunk enough to write the following about track 3:
"all nipples in at onte point 1.30 in, all extraneous nois e focuses to a point sucks yer ears up yer nose and out again - there all connected see into you - all other noises stop ,then back in lovelelyl"
I then foolishly made myself a Turkish coffee, which meant I spent the next two hours both drunk and wired, which isn't a good state in which to be doing anything (see the works of one Jean-Louis Lebris de Kerouac for further proof, should it be needed). From that, I concluded that this album is best enjoyed when sober.
And there seems to be a general consensus that this is a more grown up, somewhat less-exuberant offering from AC. Granted, it wouldn't be hard to be less exuberant than AC, who could be the band that the word was invented for.
But that's not to say there aren't songs you can dance like a proper gibbon to, because there are. Purple Bottle and Turn Into Something being prime examples. But these songs are also intricately structured, densely layered and lyrically (when you can make them out) by turns funny, knowing, beautiful and slightly rude, as opposed to Sung Tongs' seemingly amateurish randomness, which was, it now appears, more likely to be arch professionalism masquerading as amateurism. Much like Les Dawson, in that respect.
There's still plenty of chanting, whooping and harmonising, but the backing has changed from the quick-strummed acoustic guitars of the previous album to slower electric guitars and electronic jiggery-pokery. The best example of the electronic side of the band is the wonderful Loch Raven, which has got a synth line that could have been on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works II. It makes me think of christmas, for some reason, and the end of Mulholland Drive.
It's not as instantly likeable as Sung Tongs, but it's a grower, and when it all kicks in and the sounds and voices combine, they carry you with them, and you happily go with a big fat grin on your face. I can only agree with Stylus Magazine, "Feels is a near-stunning album a notable amount of the time." And you can't ask for more from a record really, can you? So stop pissing your life away listening to R'n'B ballads and classical chillout compilations and Keane and go and buy some proper music.
There are more great reviews on metacritic, should you need any more convincing.