As the proud creators of an album sitting pretty just outside the midweek top 10, and the incessant focus of fawning music critics across the land, January’s been something of a revelation for Animal Collective.
While it seems everyone can’t get enough of their latest, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ – everyone from the broadsheets to the gutter
press have been lauding it as a ‘modern classic’ – they’ve also been busy blazing it on the live trail, winning over fans like some extravagant troupe of merry Pied Pipers.
Having crafted ‘Merriweather…’ from disparate corners of the globe, it makes you wonder whether Avey Tare (David Pornter), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox)
and Geologist (Brian Weitz) have racked up some pretty serious air miles en route to the mini-grandeur of Koko.
Numbering only three (Deakin isn’t here tonight) the communal sense of ‘the collective’ might be somewhat diminished,
but even as a trio they’re more than capable of comprehensively immersing an audience in intricate, roaming melodies, jigsawed together so that it’s not so much one song,
but a symphony of playful, chaotic harmonies, writhing and winding in unison.
And although the album has its moments of astounding ingenuity, reproducing such a melange of sounds into an all-engrossing live show must pose something of a challenge.
After all, this is a band who pride themselves on their genre-bending diversity and are revered for their ever-changing chameleonic approach to making music.
Not looking all to fazed by the prospect, Avey, Panda and Geologist just look like they’re here to make enough noise for the whole clan.
Encamped behind hefty banks of synths and keyboards, Geologist, sporting the customary headlamp, is a livewire.
Perpetually busy, he alternately ferrets around his electronic bazaar,
feeding the unyielding maelstrom of noise
while Panda is rhythmically intent on angering the Gods,
relentlessly beating his kit with the hammer of Thor. On record Avey’s the wandering, wailing stream of consciousness
that propels Animal Collective into their spatial nirvana;
tonight he seems in a belligerent, incomprehensible mood, almost reluctant to interact with anyone.
And for the most part, he takes the path of the less spoken.
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