Animal Collective Fall Be Kind [EP]

[Domino; 2009]

Styles: jams that stick like the original {Star Trek} theme
Others: Animal Collective comparisons are fairly “fat guy in little coat”-ish (they don’t fit!), but: Dan Deacon, Tickley Feather, Quinn Walker, Au

The way I see it, if you can't bring a solid EP, you ain't deserving of prime-time billing. If I'm going to truly worship you, even your detritus should shine — and be hot to the touch like a sunny nickel.

Animal Collective? They're backlash-proof because they stay ahead of the blurb-curve, invest themselves emotionally into their art like few of their contemporaries, and, keeping with the theme above, consistently release great music, whether in LP, EP, or Animal Crack Box form. What more is there to say? Panda, Avey, and Geo are stuck on "tweak" mode, and, to the incredible pleasure of just about everyone in the indie community, they can't seem to snap themselves out of it.

Fall Be Kind would be an ideal place to start coasting if you're AC. It follows your most successful record, and teeny bits of time-honored personality rub have started to show up in interviews (example: Avey recently said he didn't know how long the AC machine could keep rolling). If the quartet were going to start feeling — and maybe succumbing to — the pressure of stardom, you'd think the wear ’n’ tear would start to show up in the cracks and crannies of this EP.

Not the case. Of all the AC EPs — Prospect Hummer, People, Water Curses, and, essentially, Campfire Songs and the "Grass" single (which contained two nails-on B-sides) — Fall Be Kind is the most independent of its antecedent, needing none of the leftover glow/goodwill afforded them by dint of Merriweather Post Pavilion to make its impression. Like MPP, it's got the repetitive drones, dub-skin beats, cave-dweller echo, sample-driven glee, vocal-heavy projection, and any other hyphen-toting AC persuasion you can think of, and all within the space of five stretched-out-but-never-wafer-thin cuts.

Now, rather than throw you a boring Fall Be Kind play-by-play like so many movie-theater blowjobs, I'm going to rant for a sec:

I'm obsessed with today's (and the future's) prototypical young music listener, because I think, over time, a great balance is being struck. Today's kid isn't pigeonholed the way they were when I went to high school — this kid listens to rap, this kid to rock, this kid to weird experimental shit — and the result is a home-brewed generation that can handle any kind of music you can throw at them (except Prurient; I'm sorry that's… that's just not gonna happen).

Animal Collective is that unnamed generation's unofficial Band, the in-advance result of a shitload of genres — from ambient to "world" to brutal prog to drone to noise — coalescing together in the conscious of, at first, a few and, eventually, a-helluva-lot. I don't know what these boys were doing in high school (Panda told me once that he was never, ever "cool," if that helps), so I can't say for sure, but my fantasy is that they explored knob-gobs of music and shoved it into their gullets like mega-tasty, potentially Scooby-snack-worthy treats.

Then again maybe they're just naturally pregnant with creative zest. Either way, their music, in its latest permutation, resembles a combination of the following:

- a petting zoo where you get to place your paws on huge, imaginary, neon-pink animals; my favorite is the zarphoragodunkus.
- a score by Moog enthusiast and sound-tracker Michel Krasna.
- a really, really gnarly dub jam in a sealed-off basement in Queens.
- several scenes from Fantastic Planet.
- Darth Vader, speaking from an intercom while submerged in a bubble bath in the middle of an echo chamber.
- a midget walking by giving me the finger.
- some kid singing into his toy microphone while his parents, you know, deal with their lives.
- giant, cartoon sausages bobbing up and down in time with the drum riddims.
- a garbage bag-full of rubber duckies.

If the preceding list of sights/sounds/intrigues doesn't goose your aural g-spot, why are you reading Tiny Mix Tapes in the first place? Fall Be Kind is yet another reason why Animal Collective TOTALLY TRANSCEND any notion of hipster hype-ism, another feather in a crowded cap. God bless these guys.

1. Graze
2. What Would I Want? Sky
3. Bleed
4. On a Highway
5. I Think I Can

Most Read