As the decade without a name comes to a close, a look back reveals a strange amalgam of musical developments, but without question one of the most exciting bands to surface was Animal Collective. The Baltimore natives put out an amazing album this year but may have even raised the stakes with their new 5 track EP, Fall Be Kind, which pushes the sonic envelope a bit further, offering new developments and, if possible, a more complex sound.
The intro track “Graze” begins with a theatrical note and has a feeling reminiscent of a late 70’s progressive rock concept album ala Pink Floyd or Yes. It’s followed up with “What Would I Want? Sky” which samples the Grateful Dead’s “Unbroken Chain” from Mars Hotel (the first ever licensed use of a Dead sample). The song changes pace a bit with the addition of strong percussion and a spacey, tribal feel, which develops into a brilliant movement that approaches a more traditional rock song format with an almost hip-hop quality.
This track alone makes the album worth picking up but it’s followed with an ambient layered interim entitled “Bleed” and “On a Highway” which continues the tribal, echo chamber feel but with a more pronounced 1980’s pop/rock edge. The EP closes with a Frankensteinian track entitled “I Think I Can” which blends together a drive to the beach in 1986 with deep space “wall of sound” production and a dash of medieval troubadours to create something inherently Animal Collective in every way.