Posted by: Chris Lockard | November 26, 2009

Eclectic Noise: Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind EP

Animal Collective – Fall Be Kind EP (A+)

In January of this year Animal Collective released their 8th studio album and second record on the Domino Records label titled “Merriweather Post Pavilion.” The album was a change of pace of what they had been building the last couple of years as the noise and drone sounds gave way to a much more pop sound, not the pop sound heard on the radio today, but more so a continuation of the late 60’s pop sounds that the Beatles and Beach Boys developed. One could almost image that if Brian Wilson and John Lennon had kept at their work and welcomed digital sound (looping stations, effects boards,  and synthesizers) they could have just as easily reached the same point.

Animal Collective continue to expand their sound from “Merriweather Post Pavilion”, while also taking a darker tone in their lyrics, to develop the best EP of the year, “Fall Be Kind”.  Where as “Merriweather Post Pavilion” was a summer record, “Fall Be Kind” is easily intended for the season that lays within it’s title. Most of the tracks on the EP start in one sound and tone and end in a complete different state of mind. The whole EP takes to the fall theme as well as the darker tones emerge more as you progress to the later tracks.

The EP though is careful not to drown it’s self in sorrow though. The first two tracks are upbeat in terms of sound and harmony, with  “Graze” featuring a symphony opening that gives way to an Irish flute jig that is drowned with synthesizers.  “What Would I Want? Sky?”, the lead single and best track of the EP, features a backing sound and sample that could easily be confused for a Beatles song.  Only “Bleed” and “On a Highway”  have no counter balance as the band sings of letting people down, the cold loneliness of touring and the desire to return home again with music backing them that is meant to hammer theses points home. The closing song “I Think I Can” which focuses on staying in a depressed state of mind offers hope near the end as the music becomes more uplifting and Animal Collective sings the title of the track over and over as a sign that yes they can let failures and dark thoughts go and try to move on.

Animal Collective have dominated this year in quality music and this EP is as good of indication as any as to why they have done so. The band is constantly trying new things, never once dwelling on one sound too long. Every record has increased Animal Collective’s fan base because they have kept moving forward to a sound that is more open to the common listener than the previous. “Fall Be Kind”, while not taking the huge leap that “Merriweather Post Pavilion” did earlier this year, continues in that spirit. Instead of reproducing “My Girls” and “Summertime Clothes” they developed tracks that are completely different in sound but still just as listenable. If anything it should be an indicator to all new listeners that you should never expect the band to develop a set sound (please see Coldplay as an example), and that’s what continues to make them so interesting and the band to beat heading into the next decade. The truth is until you actually here the new songs live or listen to the new album, you’ll never know what you are going to get, you just know it will probably be really good.

Top Tracks: Graze, What Would I Want? Sky!,  I Think I Can

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