After 2009's Merriweather Post Paviliion, Baltimore Freak Folk act Animal Collective found unprecedented mainstream attention focused on their experimental sounds. Post Pavillion was easily the most accessible and critically acclaimed AC album to date, and left them with a new slew of fans eagerly awaiting new material.
For long-time fans of AC, however, MPP was a deviation from the usual Animal Collective, if that can even be said. The more flowing, layered, and overproduced were in direct opposition with what fans had come to know and love.
On Centipede Hz, the bands newest release, the old explosive sounds have returned as well as bassist Deakin, who sat out from the recording and touring of MPP. The album is a return to form and a step in the opposite direction from Merrieweather, which to old fans is great news, but to the new fans may be a little offputting.
Cemtipede Hz shows a band struggling with their new found fame and success. Avey Tare sings in earnest about his desire to return to the old days, when the band could disappear into the woods and lose themselves in a psychedelic trip without the responsibilities of being successful musicians.
"Today's Supernatural", the albums first single, combines Panda Bears unique percussion, and Avey Tare's passionate screams to create a churning carnival of layered noise invoking the sounds heard on Albums like Feels and Sung Tongs. Avey's shouting has always been a staple of the AC formula that provides an emotional insight into his otherwise cryptic lyrics.
The album, while being dominated by Avey's freakish sounds, still provides space for the other band members to show off their own songwriting skills. On "New Town Burnout" we hear Panda Bear applying his traditional looping songwriting and echoing vocals to create another finely crafted piece of music. Most notable, however is the track "Wide Eyed", written and sung by returning member Deakin. The song shows Deakin coming into his own as a songwriting with sounds hearkening back to the lat 60's sounds of The Beach Boys and The Beatles. If this is any sign of things to come, Deakin is becoming a more integral part of the songwriting core of Animal Collective, giving the band an even more varied toolbox of styles that they can bring to future albums.
Centipede Hz is a strong album showing a band firing on all cylinder's and not being afraid to experiment. Old Animal Collective fans will be very pleased with this album, and while it may alienate fans of Merriweather Post Pavilion t there's enough variety in this album for everyone to find something they can love.5/5 -Jem and Dylan