Animal Collective Spirit They’ve Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished

[Animal; 2000]

Rating: 5/5

Styles: experimental folk, psychedelic rock, abstract rock
Others: Campfire Songs, Avey Tare & Panda Bear, Comets on Fire

Are you like me? Did the Animal Collective interest you, but just not live up to your expectations of bizarro rock? Did you think they could have done so much more with what they had? The reason is, they’ve already done it, back before they even were Animal Collective, back in 2000 as Avey Tare and Panda Bear. You can’t expect lightning to strike twice, can you? Well, maybe you can, but I’ll tell you what, folks. Lightning struck here, and it charred the fuck out of some loft in Brooklyn.

To me, this is what experimental rock should be all about. On Spirit They’ve Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished, conventional pop sensibilities are laid out on the table, but before you know what’s happening, some thug punches you in the nose with noisy blasts of sound, and you’re experiencing those all too familiar themes through the welling tears in your eyes. The traditional foundation is still there, but it’s been a little perverted, and what’s being thrown on top doesn’t seem to make sense. Moreover, it really creeps you out. Kind of like Twin Peaks. But, before long, it all starts to make sense, once your mind has likewise perverted itself in order to do this alien dance with the music.

For just that reason, this album isn’t the easiest to enjoy on the first listen or two. You wonder why you’re subjecting yourself to these dissonant screeches, why you couldn’t just be listening to The New Shins album. But, it’s because you’re an adventurous type, and on this journey it is about where you’re going, and not how you got there. So, persevere to get there. “Everyone Whistling” is easily the best song I’ve heard this year, and most of the songs on here don’t trail too far behind it. More than just entertainment, this is one of those albums that challenges your aesthetics, and it's damn good, to boot.

1. Spirit They've Vanished
2. April and the Phantom
3. Penny Dreadfuls
4. Chocolate Girl
5. Everyone Whistling
6. La Rapet
7. Bat You'll Fly
8. Someday I'll Grow to Be as Tall as the...
9. Alvin Row
10. [Untitled]

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