Merriweather Post Pavilion Squares are seldom invited to the art-school party, and for nearly a decade, the trippy, often willfully obtuse output of cerebral-psych outfit Animal Collective easily… Merriweather Post Pavilion Squares are seldom invited to the art-school party, and for nearly a decade, the trippy, often willfully obtuse output of cerebral-psych outfit Animal Collective easily… 2009-01-20 Animal Collective Indie Rock
Music Review

Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)

ANIMAL MAGNETISM: (From left) Panda Bear, Avey Tare, and Geologist
Image credit: Takahiro Imamura
ANIMAL MAGNETISM: (From left) Panda Bear, Avey Tare, and Geologist
EW's GRADE
A-

Details Release Date: Jan 20, 2009; Lead Performance: Animal Collective; Genre: Indie Rock

Squares are seldom invited to the art-school party, and for nearly a decade, the trippy, often willfully obtuse output of cerebral-psych outfit Animal Collective easily stopped most musical normies at the door. In 2007, however, member Noah ''Panda Bear'' Lennox found solo acclaim with Person Pitch, a gorgeously accessible sonic whirligig — like Pet Sounds spun through a flux capacitor. And while their ninth album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, won't land the band the opening slot on a Coldplay tour, it cleaves closer to Pitch's more listener-friendly aesthetic, abandoning the self-indulgent impulses that sometimes muddied last year's Strawberry Jam for an album full of effervescent, transportive oddity.

Merriweather, named for the Frank Gehry-designed outdoor concert venue in AC's native Maryland, is actually not unlike the renowned architect's famously contoured forms: swoopy, organic, and disarmingly out-there. Woozy Beach Boy harmonies have always anchored the band's best work, as in opener ''In the Flowers,'' a stunning postmodern frolic of shimmering synths, reverb-soaked vocals, and thump-and-tumble percussion. ''My Girls'' floats on swirling chorus rounds and the occasional falsetto ''owooh!'' while ''Lion in a Coma'' works hard to resuscitate the image of the much-maligned didgeridoo (the jury’s still out). But when the band collectively exhorts ''Open up your/open up your/open up your throat'' on the transcendent closer ''Brother Sport,'' it feels joyful, pure, and best of all, totally inclusive. A–

DownLoad This: Listen to songs from the new album on the band’s MySpace

Originally posted Jan 07, 2009 Published in issue #1030 Jan 16, 2009 Order article reprints
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