“Centipede Hz” by Animal Collective
No one can make a cogent argument that Animal Collective is derivative.
The only fair comparison that can be made with the band is with its own previous works. “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” the band’s 2009 record, was a landmark creation. It was magnificent and complex. Few other albums are so concurrently youthful and meaningful without ever getting boring or obnoxious.
AnCo changes their sound with every album, never fully content or consciously residing in any particular niche. If “Merriweather” was the band’s astral work, contentedly floating in the cosmos, “Centipede Hz” is the antithesis. The band’s child-like eccentricity is the glowing foundation for their sound. The new album eviscerates any residual soul and leaves it irresolute on what it wants to be. It’s creative and undeniably original, but wholly insubstantial.
It is ostensibly a commentary on the overwhelming traffic of radio and television signals transmitted into space. The clustered overindulgence of sounds imbues the songs with claustrophobia. The album makes you feel trapped inside a fish bowl on board the International Space Station.
Noah Lennox, who goes by the moniker Panda Bear, is a multi-instrumental member of the band. In an interview with Grantland, he insisted that he has tried to stop thinking about how people will interpret their music.
“I feel like it’s kind of a dangerous way of going about things,” he said. “The safest way for us seems to be just to make sure we’re really excited about what we’re doing, and if people hate it, at least we can defend it in an honest way.”
Avey Tare, another multi-talented member of the band, asks in “Monkey Riches,” the album’s eighth song with self-conscious lyrics, “Makes me wonder how I even wrote this song; doesn’t that occur to almost everyone?” before going into a screaming match with his blipping synthesizer.
Now these well-respected, psychotic DJs may be senselessly weird, but at least they’re honest with themselves.
This story was originally published for the Santa Barbara City College newspaper The Channels on September 21, 2012 at: http://www.thechannels.org/ae/2012/09/21/cd-reviews-grizzly-bear-animal-collective-lil-wayne/
For more stories I’ve written for The Channels, go to: http://www.thechannels.org/staff/2012/02/08/emerson-malone-arts-editor/