animal_collective_merriweather.jpg

Looks like it. Sounds like it, too, if you spent your holiday with Animal Collective’s latest on repeat like most everybody with torrent expertise. The album’s out tomorrow but a couple reviews are already in, and they are glowing. SPIN went four-star style in a review from Andy Beta:

From [opening thumper "In The Flowers"] forward, these stalwart innovators … elude all experimental-noise, freak-folk, and indie-rock tags, and create a startling, pounding, effulgent sonic template….

Call it searching for the perfect peak. Merriweather plays like the summation of a long, strange trip, combining the group’s career touchstones: harmonic Beach Boys pop, African tribal chants, minimalism, minimal techno, psychedelia, and dub.

Pitchforkmedia.com went a little higher.

In a 9.6 review, Mark Richardson demonstrated why he’s a fan:

No one who’s been looking forward to it should be disappointed. Everything that’s defined the band to this point– all those strands winding through their hugely diverse catalog– is refined and amplified here…

But Merriweather feels like a joyous meeting in a well-earned, middle place– the result of all their explorations pieced together to create something accessible and complete…

Music obsessives talk a lot about originality– whether it’s important, or why having a new sound should or shouldn’t matter. In recent years, some fantastic albums have turned a number of people off for being retreads, which has sparked some interesting discussions. This album, which finds Animal Collective completely owning their unique sound, feels like the crucial next step in that conversation. What they’ve constructed here is a new kind of electronic pop– one which is machine-generated and revels in technology but is also deeply human, never drawing too much attention to its digital nature … Animal Collective have spent the decade following their own path, figuring out what their music is capable of while also working to bring more listeners into their world. On Merriweather Post Pavilion, their commitment has paid off tremendously.

Beta and Richardson hit the beats right. It’s true that the peak moments come in the previously leaked “Brother Sport,” playing like a plea to a child to take her medicine as the sun comes up on a beachfront party, and the insanely catchy ode to domestic bliss “My Girls,” on which they even found a way to make Avey’s war cry a pinnacle pop moment. They’re giving license to sideliners to jump on board, but the rest of the record supports and expands those Posts with singularly conceived aural ticks, composition, and arrangement, cutting a deep swath through the mess of music competing for ears in ’09.

It’s officially out tomorrow via Domino. Even if you have it already this one’s worth “owning,” if only as a drop in the tip jar. (Try the vinyl goodies.) But moreover: We’re only a week into the new year and already we have an album that demands and rewards repeat, complete listening. What album stands a chance of replacing this one at #1 of 2009? On the up side, we’ve got some 360 days to go. On the flip, Merriweather’s a masterstroke.

“My Girls”

Comments (293)
  1. chris  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 +1

    grizzly bear

    • Jim  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

      Ed Droste seems to be a fan of this album.

    • Ed Droste's jealous little brother  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

      Possible, but too early to tell consider the only song they have officially released to us is one that rips off the keyboard riff to a flippin’ Wolf Parade song. All I’m saying is let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Case in point: The Shins’ “Wincing the Night Away.”

    • sonokrug  |   Posted on Jan 6th, 2009 0

      yo, there’s more grizzly bear hype in these comments than feedback on mpp. cheers.

      ’09 new releases > ’08 new releases

    • matthew  |   Posted on Jan 7th, 2009 0

      animal collective

  2. Ryan  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Let the battle for #2 on every year end list begin. Pitchfork graced the album with a 9.6. I guess I’ll have to check it out, huh?

  3. i hope their new year’s resolution was to put out an album later this year that’s worth a 9.7, because…what?…only animal collective can beat animal collective.

  4. MPP is fantastic. I’m one of the many who’s had it on constant repeat. So excited to pick up my physical copy tomorrow. I’ve been an obssessive AC fan since before Sung Tongs and they’re never letting us down are they?

    That said, to answer your question, I say you’d better wait until you hear the new Grizzly Bear ;)

  5. Wow, its only been 2009 for 5 days and the best album of the year has already been released? Exepctations and exictement destroyed, thanks Pitchfork!

  6. fucking sublime.
    and yes, here’s to hoping that the new Grizzly Bear will be quite good as well.

    but damn, this is great stuff. My Girls is soooo goood as well.

  7. I think this makes Strawberry Jam seem like an awkward transitional album.

    MPP is more along the lines of “Feels,” a coherant/consistant trip through its own little world. The tracklist/pacing is spot on– from the moment that In The Flowers kicks in with an explosion that blows your face into a smile, to the choice of Brothersport to remind us that this really is the first AC record

    While it’s obviously a bit early to really tell, this may be their best, most developed record by a fair margin. You can make an argument that Sung Tongs is more refreshing or that the Peacebone/RevGreen/Fireworks trio makes Strawberry Jam untouchable– but they’ve been building to this here baby for the last three records.

    The first five tracks are monsters in their own way. My Girls is a beautiful song with a simple premise– and jesus, the “whooo!”s when the drums kick in during the chorus are fantastic. Perfect example of what can happen when Panda lets Avey play with his tracks.

    Summertime Clothes has the same manic, yet lumbering vibe that made Peacebone so fun (even if they sound a bit similar). And Daily Routine carries that jarring, piercing sped-up synth on its back through the entire song– and that’s before you realize that it’s supposed to be an alarm clock.

    Blueish and Guys Eyes provide a great, needed mid-album sink into swampy layered soundscapes. While their equivilant tracks on old albums are sometimes throwaways, these are dense and lovely. Can we get these guys and Dave Sitek in a room together?

    Taste and No More Runnin- fine, but I can do without. But that’s what great about MPP– even the album’s relative low-lights have their moments. Take the even, slow, lazy exaultation of No More Runnin– kind of like a space-y B-side from the back half of The Joshua Tree.

    I like this album a lot, more so each of the last few times I have heard it. It’s not going to change the future of music– or even the minds of many who don’t already understand the reasons why Animal Collective is making really stellar music.

    But it’s certainly everything most AC fans could have hoped for.

  8. ethos7  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 -1

    Best of 2009? Seriously? Not even a week into 2009… The album is all right, but definitely not exceptional.

  9. The album is a great welcoming back after the misstep of Strawberry Jam, which was awfully straightforward and synthetic sounding. Athough, I’ve been hearing a lot of chime about Merriweather being our generations Pet Sounds, which is just ignorant considering Merriweather isn’t even Animal Collectives best album.

  10. mikey  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Animal Collective piss excellence.

  11. johnnytantan  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    grizzly bear, indeed.

  12. JuJu  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    I don’t know, but THIS IS THE BEST COMMENT OF 2009!

  13. Mundia  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Grizzly Bear will have the best album of the year

  14. Well, now that they have received these great reviews I suppose it’s time to start the backlash. Who wants to commence the hate?

  15. I want it to be the best. Please Grizzly Bear do not release a more pleasant album.

    • Tim  |   Posted on Jan 10th, 2009 0

      I think both bands are definitely expirimenting with new sounds and ideas, it’s interesting to see how both bands have transformed since their beginnings, and it will be even more interesting to hear how Grizzly Bear’s new album stands in relation to Yellow House, which a phenominal and timeless record, in my opinion.

      Can’t wait!

  16. Not sure if it’s the best album of 2009, it’s been what 5 days. :) But in terms of Animal Collective albums it’s one of their best, I’m really liking it a lot. If this is the precursor for music in 2009 I’m pretty excited, it should be a great year.

  17. only one album could maybe top this album for the years best… and its panda bear

  18. i like your buns  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Buns, I was going to say the exact same thing. Fucking hipsters….

  19. dee  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Sometimes the high ratings on Pitchfork don’t mean album of the year [even though this album is really, really fucking good]. The highest rated album on Pitchfork for 2007 was The Hold Steady’s Boys + Girls in America, but they named Person Pitch album on the year. just sayin’

    • TC  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

      Boys and Girls in America came out in 2006. Person Pitch came out in 2007.

      • dee  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

        whoops! You’re right! It was 2006, and it was The Knife that earned the best album title, even though it was given a 8.6, while The Hold Steady was given a 9.4 (or something like that)

  20. tiny mix tapes has an awesome review… i don’t work for them… also when people abbreviate with AC I keep thinking of Newman or of Air Conditioners, so thanks

  21. juicerino  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    DIRTY PROJECTORS ’09

  22. Let me check the date…. hmmm, oh yeah, it’s Monday, January 5th 2009! The year is just getting started. Calling an album released in january the best of the year is just plain ridiculous, if you ask me. You have no idea what the year will bring.

    These are the kind of things that makes me seriously hate blogs and magazines every once in a while.

    No, I have not listened to the album, I’m sure I will love it. My point is: it’s too soon. Now if we were in say September then you can make such assertion with more certainty.

    • You’re right, cos it wasn’t clearly meant as a joke or anything.

      • Are you saying that every time someone cries out “best of the year!” before the final 3 months is joking? my bad, I wasn’t in on it.

        My point was that is completely annoying and somewhat pretentious, but Pitchfork gave it a 9.6 so I understand why everyone is getting their panties in a bunch.

        What I like most about music is how personal it is. Just because a random person that works at some publication gave it a high score doesn’t mean that it’ll be your personal favorite at the end of the year, even if you really like it.

        Don’t misunderstand me, I’m a big AC fan. They are one of the few bands that manages to make music that sounds exciting to me, and I’m guessing this will be no less.

    • But it’s Animal Collective and no one can top them.

  23. regardless of how good this is, this hype is getting out of hand.

    • eddie  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

      exactly!! pitchfork has become the NME of the US. this is ridiculous. people music needs some air to breathe, give it some time… album comes out tomorrow and seriously, already the best in 2009? I really wish i hadn’t heard about this so i could listen to this without thinking of countless of idiots and pitchfork. unfortunately i can’t.

      • I read P4K on a daily basis and I don’t think they have hyped Merriweather’s Post Pavillion more than, say Stereogum just by asking if MPP is the best of 2009. Mark Richardson wrote his personal review, gave it a 9.6, and never stated for him or the site he writes for it was the best album of 2009. Time will decide if for them this will be the album of the year. Do you want them to review albums some time after its release date? As many other music sites I am sure they get the promos before mostly everybody else who goes out to buy on the street date.

    • <3 sarahspy  |   Posted on Jan 8th, 2009 0

      HELP! HELP! Who is that in sarahspy’s photo?!??! It’s the cutest girl I’ve ever seen.

  24. Japanese Ghost  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Until the next Panda Bear record comes out.

  25. am i the only one that thought strawberry jam was better?

    • dano  |   Posted on Jan 15th, 2009 0

      me too.. think the songs are stronger and less repetitive on strawberry jam. im not that crazy about the sound of this, it sort of sounds like listening to people cough in a waiting room after a while, just something you dont wanna be in. sounds cheaply made, in a rush too, less vital. theres nothing as exciting as reverend green, peacebone, leaf house or banshee beat to my ears on this. my girls is cool but also in some ways annoying. just an opinion, dont start wanking or shitting about it.

  26. seamus  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    really, the best album already? i suppose i just don’t get it. it all sounds like bad controled noise and not music at all. which is cool if you are dropping acid on a daily basis or drinking mushroom tea, but to call this noise music or a great album is a mistake.

    to say it rivals pet sounds…REALLY? i mean pet sounds had SONGS vs. sound colliages. i understand how people would think of this as new, but there have people doing soundscape noise for years. what makes AC so different from any of those people/bands?

    it sounds like a retread to me of old stuff like d’Einsturzende Neubauten or Psychic TV and other noise artists.

  27. NEWGRIZZLYBEAR  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    NEW GRIZZLY BEAR

    THAT IS ALL (andrew bird’s latest is a bummer though, huh?)

  28. alexhsu  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    its weird. i have a couple friends who seem to carry a similar opinion on both the album and the band which i find odd because i am the complete opposite. i do think though that its easy to find reasons not to like a band like animal collective, just as its easy to find reasons not to like a band like grizzly bear, that is when you listen to them with the thought that they have been called by so many THE BEST BAND EVER, or some other stupid tag. personally when i listen to animal collective and especially this album, i am more speechless than praise ready. of course i think this translates into it being brilliant but i would never go around with a group of friends telling everybody that ac is the best band or that mpp is the best album ever and insist they enjoy it as much as i have. im sorry though that ive been rambling, plus my english is not as great as it could be so if this made no to little sense i apologize. ANIMAL COLLECTIVE IS THE BEST!!!! (sarcasm…sorta)

  29. james idlo  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    OVER-RATED. (CLAP CLAP CLAP-CLAP-CLAP.)

  30. FBC  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    I just want to add to the love train before the inevitable backlash (which, it seems, is unfortunately already beginning). This album is fantastic in every way possible.

  31. brian mcbride  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    john and paul of indie rock

  32. brian mcbride  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    sorry. i’ll go back to chasing balls.

  33. wow, for once somebody says something sensible, thanks, Alexhsu. I haven’t head the album but that’s the way I feel about everything I like

  34. Jhon  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Yes. It is the best album of 2009.

  35. prolly my favorite color is green
    prolly my favorite candy bar is a snickers
    prolly my favorite animal collective album is this one

  36. How can all you bastards be saying this is the best album of 2009 when you already stole it in 2008?

  37. I am left a bit disappointed by MPP, seems to not be a really cohesive album. For example, when Brother Sport comes on, it totally ruins the vibe i had from No More Runnin. Not to say that Brother Sport isn’t a great song (because it is great), but i don’t really like the way the album was put together. That being said, I am without a doubt it will be in mine (and many other) top 10 lists at the end of the year. Also, My Girls is going to be in the running for song of the year…

    • anon  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

      If anything, No More Running ruins the vibe before Brother Sport. It’s a decent song, but I think it is a bit out of place on the album. The album is awesome though. I’m already on the verge of playing it out.

  38. They couldn’t even wait for a week into the year to declare a winner.

  39. WallabyJoe  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    As someone who:
    1) really appreciates what Animal Collective do
    2) thinks “Fireworks” is one of the 10 greatest songs of the decade
    3) yet still can’t really ever find the patience or desire to actually listen to Animal Collective for any length of time longer than 1 song

    Would you guys ‘n gals recommend this album? The reviews I’ve glanced at seem to use the word “accessible,” but I can’t help but feel like an accessible Animal Collective album is still too challenging for my pushing-middle-aged ears to process.

    • FBC  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

      It’s easily their most pop-friendly record, while still being unique and fairly experimental. If you like Fireworks, you’ll probably like MPP.

  40. kurt  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    can everybody at least agree that it’s the best of album of 2009…thusfar?

  41. Take these reviews with a grain of salt. Listen to it for yourself and draw your own conclusions. If you read one glowing review of an album from P4K and then go out and buy it, you’re a fucking idiot. Fuck Buttons, for example, are probably the worst band I’ve ever heard and Stereogum and P4K are still on their nuts something ridiculous. Luckily, most of the time we get to hear a record before it’s out now and we can figure out whether it’s worth our money or not. MPP is a great record, but best album of 2009 is a stretch. We still have Spoon, Arcade Fire and Grizzly Bear on the way.

  42. zayin_451  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    Since when has music been a competitive sport? Surely we can listen to music without having to instantly draw conclusions about where it might be on our top albums list in 12 months? Music is an art, not a sport. These guys are making music because they love to create and enjoy writing and playing, they aren’t trying to beat Grizzly Bear on a top 10 list. Why do we as fans have to approach there music so much differently than they do?

    • disgruntled hipster no. 416  |   Posted on Jan 7th, 2009 0

      I wholeheartedly agree, music is not a competitive sport.

      However, commenting on Stereogum seems to be.

  43. one of the worst albums of the year

  44. I have no idea whether I want to love or hate this album.

  45. Philip Pietri  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

    My penis blood – the Geraldo Rivera experience. A biopic into the hellish life of his God damn mustache and years of SHIT, dammit. Animal Collective star as the lovable next door neighbor, Herman (whose tits are a mythic ode to Jon fucking Voit). Barbara Walters ass, Barbara Walters shit and holy fucking hell – her tits too. Rated R for a scene involving mild sensuality and all sort of Ben Stein’s money. Animal Collective return to the big screen while eating Barry Bonds alive. Forever.

  46. This is no where near as goog as Sung Tongs or Feels. It all prettmuch sounds the same. The only half way decent tunes are Flowers, My Girls, and Brothersport because they are sorta actual songs and change a little. I think Purple Bottle is the best thing Animal Collcetive ever did…one of my fave songs ever in fact. They haven’t done anything anywhere close to that since. Over rated.

  47. One more thing. All you raving about this boring album are probably the same ones who like TV on the Radio Dear Science. And I thought that was the most over hyped annoying sounding album ever until I heard MPP. At least Dear Science had some variety.

  48. i was never a huge fan of ac. a friend of a friend gave me sung tongs, i listened and put it away. i bought water curses and loved it now with mpp i must say it really is good, it led me to buy feels which is also great but i can see why people wont think mpp is the best of 2009. i mean its early there alot still to come. like most of you out there i’m used to people not liking the same music as i do, so as long as you like it keep listening if you don’t then there’s always the new michael jackson album due this year.

    • huh?  |   Posted on Jan 5th, 2009 0

      I wish there was a ? symbol you could press instead of green and red arrows to indicate you have no clue what the person really is trying to say or think what they are saying is completely random.

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