REVIEW: ‘Painting With’-Animal Collective

A band is only as good as their collaborators- which is why Baltimore trio Dave Portner, Noah Lennox and Brian Weitz have the wonderful John Cale and Colin Stetson on this, their tenth studio album and  follow-up to 2012’s Centipede Hz.

Opener FloriDada sets the tone- it’s burbling, gurgling synths and samples all the way. But rather than the Dadaism which it references, it’s more like a postmodern Pop Art collage from disparate sources. Like forefathers Kraftwerk, their electro sounds warm and organic, rather than coldly detached.

Bagels In Kiev feels ambient, Lying on the Grass is fuzzy and nostalgic, but Golden Gal is the most audacious, eccentric and lovely- a call to sexual equality. Textures are built upon with overlapping vocals and shape-shifting tempos.It is almost impossible to not say ‘spling’ or ‘boink’ when alluding to the delightful , cartoonish onomatopoeia of their modular synths.

Naysayers will reference The Beach Boys, self-indulgent hippy wackiness for its own sake, and a creative funk, but there is nobody else around taking risks like these in 60s psych-influenced pop (apart from maybe Conan Mockasin)- and in a minimal pop landscape, it’s a welcome distraction.

As with all of the most interesting art, it’s best to stand well back to appreciate the finer details- then watch them ignite.

painting with 1

(Lorna Irvine)

Out now on Domino Recordings.


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