Animal Collective – Feels

‘Feels’ is the seventh album by the Animal collective, but I’ve never heard from them before.
What’s presented by this band can be described as pop, for there is a band, a quite conventional instrument line-up (meaning almost no electronics) and a singer with a good voice and a very broad vocal range. But then again: is it played as pop?

The songs are all dense, energetic and up tempo. ‘Overjoyed’ would be a good description of the neurotic ‘The purple bottle’ for example, which is, judging the others, a typical AC track. Weird breaks, lyrical hollering and experiments on the borders of pop and good taste. A little reminiscent of The Arcade Fire, although even that band is conventional compared to this. I cannot think of similar sounding groups, but it is fast-forward ‘indie-rock’ for sure.

The track ‘Bees’ is a calm song, though still dense with pretty harps and very cool singing. Really atmospheric and pleasantly surprising without getting annoying by overdriven experiments. The glowing calm is preserved in the next track ‘Banshee beat’, a beautifully subtle track which is the best musical painting of the term ‘anticipation’ I ever heard. In ‘Daffy duck’ Animal Collective spins a web of reverbing and swirling guitar melodies, demonstrating a great control over instruments.

The further into the album, the more ambient and cinematic the music gets. And does anyone recognize the piano-sound of Mum there? Well, Kristin Anna Valtysdottir plays along. Somehow I get the feeling this is an important album, because it’s very good, very original and it got a lot of critical acclaims.

An adventurous, original and ambitious project. A definite recommendation for lovers of experimental though emotional and harmonic ‘pop’. File under: progressive indie.

artist: Animal Collective
label: FatCat Records
details: 9 tracks, 52 mins., 2005