Thursday, January 16, 2014

I like Animal Collective better when it's really them

My review of the new Painted Palms album, Forever went up yesterday at the Dusted Tumblr.

"You never believe it until it happens, but stick around long enough and bands that once seemed impossible to copy will attract a swarm of also-rans. Back in 2002, no one sounded like Liars (though Liars sounded, for a brief interval in 'Tumbling Walls' exactly like ESG). A few years later, weaker tinctures from Franz Ferdinand, Maximo Park and the Futureheads pounded those same jerky, abrasive sounds into oblivion. Devendra Banhart was goddam weird in 2003, then in just a couple of years a tribe of moonchild, freak folkers came to surround him, all bleating the same slyly innocent hippie nonsense.

It’s happened, too, with Animal Collective, whose tribal beats, yelps and sunny, ether-vaulting melodies made for one of the weirdest aesthetics ever to go mega. How could you copy that kind of insanity, we might have asked, back in 2001 or 2002? And yet, here we are with Au and Nurses and Braids and Le Loup and – let’s just get it out of the way – Painted Palms. All are vaguely reminiscent, none nearly as good. The inimitable is beset on every side by imitators, and if the sonics are similar, the energy is lacking. There is nothing quite so disappointing as giddiness that falls flat.


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