Painting With doesn’t live up to previous work, but worth a listen

Jack Deubner, Reporter

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Animal Collective is just one of those bands, man. With the noisy and freak folk engulfed Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished and Sung Tongs, to the fun and psych-pop fused albums Merriweather Post Pavilion and Strawberry Jam, I can surely say Animal Collective is one of my favorite bands.

As soon as their new album Painting With was announced, I couldn’t help to be excited, heck, I’ve already got tickets to their upcoming concert. With some hotshot names coinciding with the album like legendary producer and former Velvet Underground member John Cale and Colin Stetson, who has collaborated with artists like Arcade Fire and Bon Iver, Painting With sounded perfect to me.

The upbeat and exciting first single to the album, “Floridada”, didn’t initially ring any bells with me on the first listen, but after awhile, I couldn’t help but sing along with it. The catchy upbeat rhythm, the lively feel of the song, the fun Beach Boys sample in the middle of the song, it’s definitely one of the best tracks on the album.

But as the album progresses on, you can really pick up on these cliches that Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist make.

The band uses this repetitive effect throughout a bunch of the songs. It starts where Panda Bear sings the lead vocal on a song. For example, in the song “Lying in the Grass” where he sings, “All the pieces are where they ought to be, But it’s clear that we don’t look lightly, Take a place around the tabletop, Make a push to wake the moment up.” In the background, Avey Tare will be singing the exact same thing, half a beat off and with an altered pitch. This creates a pretty cool sound Strawberry Jam reminiscent effect, but the effect is used a few too many times on the album. This effect can also be heard on the tracks “Summing the Wretch” and “Recycling”

Another very repetitious effect used on the album that’s less cool and creative this time is the almost EDM sounding beats heard within the core of the album. When listening through the album a few times,  distinguishing songs from one another actually can be pretty hard. This EDM flare that shines throughout the album really gets old after awhile, and all the songs sorta blend together over time.

It sounds like Animal Collective are really ignoring their old, weirder past.

This album doesn’t determine the future of the band, but it does make it a little foggy. Will we ever hear Avey Tare bust out his “For Reverend Green” or “April and the Phantom” screams again? Will the band ever create another Merriweather or Sung Tongs? Who knows. The band does have it in them though. Every band member of Animal Collective are all extremely talented. Panda Bear’s drumming styles are typically out of this world,  Avey Tare’s vocal inflections have created some of my favorite moments in music and Deakin and Geologist have provided some great experimentation throughout the years. Just not so much with this album.

Overall, while Painting With may not be the most stellar album in the AnCo discography, you should still sit down with it sometime. “Floridada” and “Golden Gal” are some stellar tracks, and there might be a little rarity in the track list that you may enjoy more than I did.

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