Music News

Animal Collective

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.
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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts