The "collective" part of Animal Collective's name is meant literally. Although the group is built around a core quartet -- Avey Tare, Geologist, Deaken and, inevitably, Panda Bear -- the musicians play and record in assorted configurations; some tracks feature just one of them, while others include all four. This flexibility encourages contributions from guests such as violinist Eyvind Kang and pianist Kristín Anna Valtysdóttir, who appear on People, the outfit's most recent EP. Despite its brevity, the disc gives a good indication of the act's idiosyncrasies. The title cut, presented in studio and live versions, is a rambling quasi-drone that pits intricate guitar arpeggios against feverish singing/shrieking, "Tikwid" sports a delicate indie-pop feel, and the warped "My Favorite Colors" suggests an alien lullaby. Oddities like these have beguiled so many critics that Domino Records, home of the Arctic Monkeys, has decided to take a flier on the band; a new album is slated for September release. Domino's decision is an example of Collective wisdom or Collective insanity, and perhaps both.
Get the Music Newsletter
Keep your thumb on the local music scene with music features, additional online music listings and show picks. We'll also send special ticket offers and music promotions available only to our Music Newsletter subscribers.