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Collective’s bright, loud songs perplex

Published: Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 15:09

After listening to Animal Collective’s ninth album “Centipede Hz” several times it is hard to determine the direction the band is going. And that could be a good or bad thing.

Once again, band members Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Geologist (Brian Weitz) have released a psychedelic and eloquently convoluted piece of work.

Domino Records released “Centipede Hz” Sept. 4. The album marks the return of Dibb, who sat out recording sessions for the group’s last record, the highly acclaimed “Merriweather Post Pavilion,” released three years ago.

For the sake of taste it would have been a more pleasant listen had there been more cohesion throughout the tracks on “Centipede Hz,” bringing them together, making them feel like they belong on the same album. Instead they sound chaotic.

Perhaps this is Animal Collective’s ultimate intention.

The 11 tracks are reminiscent of a pool of bright colors warping inside the middle of one’s mind. Listening to them, literally, brings a feeling of having a centipede crawling and snapping onto every neuron in the brain, leaving one completely confused, wondering what just happened.

The ambivalent feeling toward this album goes to shows the difficulty in distinguishing an overall opinion aside from it being too clustered in its production.

The album produces the same familiarity with the Baltimore-native Animal Collective’s past discography, particularly its 2005 release “Feels.”  This latest release is more experimental in sound and digresses from the pop music sound of “Merriweather Post Pavilion.”

In the first track, “Moonjock,” the elements carry too many burdens. The lyrics are hard to understand, aside from the words in the chorus, and the song is too loud. This results in a weak start for the album. The echoing resonance near the chorus of the song can get annoying after the third listen.

“Wide Eyed,” the fifth track, has a smooth tone and the percussion, with synthesizers, creates a repetitious escalating that results in an ethnic-sounding vintage feel. “Rosie Oh” is the shortest track on the album at just under three minutes and has the most pop music-like feel to it, appealing to a wider audience.

Animal Collective should be commended for its prowess in experimenting in its sound on of every album. Usually the result is a positive one. But in this case, many of the tracks on “Centipede Hz” sound much too individualistic from each other that it is almost hard to believe they belong together on the same release.

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