It’s pretty easy to get stuck in normal life. We can’t escape because it makes these invisible blankets that tighten and constrict, not our limbs but our minds. This dulling, stupidifying (but perhaps blissful) blanket of the mundane. In their new record, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Animal Collective puts that malaise to music.
The record is surprisingly domestic, with yearning, smooth cries for “four walls and adobe slats for my girls” and a “proper house”, and “to be more like their dad”. Avey Tare is mostly tamed, his screams toned into pacified harmonies. The whole thing is blendered into this perpetual tripped-out haze that’s Panda Bear’s signature.
The lyrics are nothing complicated, touching on relationships – “I wanna walk around with you”, modern life – “hope my machine’s working right”, children- “make sure my kid’s got a jacket”, even monogamy – “I’m getting lost in your curls.”
There’s still a dose of weirdness, lots of collective noise that sounds like a gothic organ grinder (phantom of the opera shit) played at comically high velocity, but normalized until it becomes “just a signal in my head.”
It’s also poppy and danceable, with these reverbed cliché rave Doppler and a beat that sticks with the time signature the whole song through.
If animal collective has given up the wild bohemian avant-garde Brooklyn scene for domestic bliss and parenthood, their tunes are appropriately subdued. There’s a lull to their melodies, the entire rambunctious craziness zoned down, like a concerned dad lowering the volume.
It’s still damn good, which gives hope that marriage + kids aren’t a death sentence for creativity.