Review #172: Animal Collective – Painting With

Artist – Animal Collective
Album – Painting With (2016)

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Animal Collective are an experimental-pop group from Baltimore, USA. The band are a strange one in form of line-ups, as any release under the Animal Collective name can have been recorded by any mixture of the collective or by all of them. Animal Collective have become very well known for their experimentation, whether it be mixing genres (pop, folk, drone, psychedelica), experimenting in the studio with the mix and recording techniques or with their vocal harmonies. As of this latest release Animal Collective have released 10 studio albums, 7 E.Ps, 3 live albums and one visual album. Here is ‘Painting With’.

From the outset, with the intro song ‘FloriDada’, Animal Collective live up to the ‘Experimental’ title they have been awarded with since formation. ‘FloriDada’ and the rest of ‘Painting With’ is a collaboration of genres and instrumentation which don’t usually mix, yet the band manage to make it all fit beautifully, ‘FloriDada’ featuring a californian pop-rock sound, with beach boy-esque backing vocals and a didgeridoo (just because). The bands ability to harmonise intricate melodies in a way which still sounds catchy, rather than convoluted, appears throughout this album. Specifically the vocals do a great job of creating texture, in which the lead and backing melodies intertwine to create a sense of a larger scale ensemble. To join those vocal melodies obviously comes the lyrics, ranging vastly in topic from the gender focused ‘Golden Gal’ to the war examining ‘Fireworks’, delivering such ambiguous but poignant sentences as “Wander from the cynical / Take a look at views atypical,”. ‘Painting With’ carries itself upon its ability to deliver experimental/complex ideas, rhythms, progression and structures, but in a pop wrapper, something the most chart brainwashed of music fan can handle. If I were to recommend a couple songs they would be the intro track ‘FloriDada’ and the song ‘Hocus Pocus’.

‘Painting With’is fantastically catchy, whilst being interesting at the same time, two components which not too many artists manage to combine in their musical ventures.


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