Painting With – A Humdrum of Animal Collective

Painting With – A Humdrum of Animal Collective

Monday, 29 February 2016

At the beginning of February the groundhog told us that winter is fake and summer is real. This is probably in lieu of global warming. Some states experience a very summery winter – states like Florida. With the inspiration of forever summer comes upbeat pop with an experimental synth-y sound in Animal Collective’s tenth studio album Painting With released on February 19th, 2016. While band member Deakin is still M.I.A (he was also absent from 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion), Avery Tare, Panda Bear, and Geologist collaborated with John Cale of the Velvet Underground and saxophonist Colin Stetson.

So back to Florida—or should we say “FloriDada”, the first song on the album and hit single on Painting With. In hearing the opening song, I thought of the beach under summer sun browning my skin and music that makes me jump and shake my hair like a Victoria’s Secret Commercial. This feeling carried on throughout the album, leaving me warm and in a generally good mood and wanting to dance my pants off (but let’s face it, I’m not wearing pants anyways because it’s practically summer and those things are restricting so the pants are already off).

The album is driven with call-and-response-vocals steering the consistent energy on the album.  The vocals are uniform throughout, lacking diversity from track to track. The tracks start meshing together until the song “On Delay” came on, breaking the jumpy pattern of the album.

The reason why I love Animal Collective is because of the experience I have listening to their experimental music, particularly their albums as a whole. I seek the rush of intensity, the surprise that “Grass” from the album Feels (2005) gives me with mid-song screeching. I want weird vocals sounds on top of what could be cave whales. I want flickering imagery in the sounds, the ambiance they create in my brain. I want unexplained madness. When I sign up to listen to an Animal Collective album, I am committing to an hour of spinning and getting high on my  emotions invoked by the hectic music, leaving me with warmth and tears and images of green fields. The Animal Collective Legacy thrives on this acid sound and mystical ambiance.

Painting With is a mellow version of the Animal Collective I love. It’s as if they are playing it safe, or potentially working with far less passion towards the music. Avery Tare stated that they started this album with the goal to create, “really short songs: no B.S, get in, get out material…” . The trio wanted to explore the perspective of artist distortion, Cubism, and Dadaism (which can be seen in the FloriDada video).  I see the physical art, but I fail to see the full artistic expression within the music on Painting With.  The “b.s.” might be what makes the typical creations of Animal Collective so invigorating; without it, the creation is a limited sound with no superfluous effects or exciting turns. Is this what selling out looks like?

UPDATE: This might not be what selling out looks like. Animal Collective does have a serious standing in the industry. They have many fans and colleagues alike who enjoy their work for different reasons. That being said, there are many people who don’t understand their past music. The new album Painting With is definitely a good album to sell to the public ears. It’s more mainstream pop, the radio version of Animal Collective. If you need a transitory path into their discography, this album is a good place to start.

The Faculty recommends Painting With for your Tuesday morning dance party. It’s an easy album to listen to, leaving the audience with a warm, summer feeling and their feet a-jiggling.  The Faculty also recommends that fans drop expectations from past albums and listen to this with fresh ears to better your experience with this album. Don’t hold on to too many expectations. As for new listeners, people who may like Disclsure or Grouplove, this is a cool place for you to start your love affair with Animal Collective.

Full Album Packages are available here, including 1 of 3 different album covers and a sick slipcover for LPs.

See other videos here:

Golden Gal

Lying on the Grass

See upcoming Tour Dates here

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