With more recently-released 7″ singles, you never really know if it’s 33 & 1/3 RPM or 45 RPM. Many do not say. With this single, I started out on 33 & 1/3 and it took me a moment to realize it should have been on 45. That’s the beauty of Animal Collective: it could almost work on both levels. Animal Collective is one of those special groups that will never hit mainstream, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good music. The group’s distinct sound is made up of impossible-to-decipher lyrics, shrieks, and random loops.
“Grass” is one of their more accessible tunes, one with what sounds like an actual theme. It comes off their LP Feels. The signature lyrics are apparent over heavy bass-drum beats and droning guitars while the screams front cymbal-heavy percussion. “Must Be Treeman” finds the group diving into heavy electronic loops for a trance-like sound. While much of Animal Collective’s music is trance-like, few are as electronic as this tune. “Fickle Cycle” carries on the same style of lyrics and beats and screams as “Grass”, but it adds a more harmonic sound.
As a whole, the Grass single is more approachable than the Animal Collective full length albums; each song represents a single entity rather than seemingly random, disjointed songs that flow together at mind-boggling points. It is a good starting point for those just introduced to the Collective, a test of the waters and a determinant whether or not to continue on toward bigger albums by the one of today’s more prominent indie acts. For those who are already fans, it’s a must-have AC collectible that blends together very well with strong A and B sides.
This review was originally posted June 27, 2006 on the old version of FensePost.
With their upcoming new release, I figured revisiting a review of old would be appropriate. Looking back, I disagree slightly with some of my earlier statements; after all, despite the band’s steadfast experimental nature, they do seem to be entering a more accessible arena in terms of the common music fan. Still, even in their earlier days “accessibility” did come into play, as I so appropriately mentioned. Surely not for everybody, don’t be surprised if that young tanned blonde in the sports car next to you starts blasting the new Animal Collective, as they so astonishingly did with Veckatimest by Grizzly Bear. Keep an eye out for AC’s new album.
FatCat Records [7″ Single, 2006]
2. Must Be Treeman
3. Fickle Cycle