CD Strawberry Jam [Animal Collective] (CD 1157554),
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Strawberry Jam [Animal Collective]
1. Strawberry Jam
3. Unsolved Mysteries
5. For Reverend Green
6. Fireworks #1
7. Winter Wonder Land
8. Cuckoo Cuckoo
Manufacturer Part Number (MPN): DNO-156P
Animal Collective: Avey Tare, Panda Bear, Geologist, Deacon.
With six albums and two certifiable classics (HERE COMES THE INDIAN and SUNG TONGS), Animal Collective easily took the crown for the best and most creative band to emerge from the fertile Brooklyn underground of the early 2000s. Whereas their previous effort, FEELS, bordered on sonic wallpaper at times, with a lushness of voices, loops, and nature sounds, STRAWBERRY JAM--the band's 2007 Domino Records debut--returns the quartet to form with a song cycle of characteristically inventive melodic meanderings and ever-shifting production candy.
While the band was never really folk, STRAWBERRY JAM finds them severing themselves entirely from any freak-folk allegiances, as almost all the more acoustic elements of earlier records have been replaced with noise bursts, electronic blips and loops, keyboard swells, and even electric guitar muscle. Their earlier records were hardly nave, but STRAWBERRY JAM reveals a band maturing in identity so confidently in their collective magic that they can offer what seems like a standard pop melody ("Peacebone," the ecstatic "For Reverend Green") and embrace an overall slicker approach, yet still have an air of revelation about them. STRAWBERRY JAM is more accessible to listeners outside the collective than previous efforts, but if more structure is the price for growing older and more commercially viable, Animal Collective have figured out how to succeed completely on their own terms.
Spin (p.98) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[Those pure, keening melodies are evident...but you can also hear the pop faith that underlies them -- the belief that a bright, catchy melody is a sacrament for us all."
Q (p.94) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[The] songs are fabulous hybrids of lo-fi psychedelia and ecstatic drone-pop..."
Uncut (p.83) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "It makes them sound like The Beach Boys beset by a sudden, and very poignant, revelation."
Alternative Press (p.160) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "The freakiest freak-folk is rarely as freakish as the more disorienting triumphs of STRAWBERRY JAM..."
The Wire (p.49) - "Avey's crawling, traumatic 'Unsolved Mysteries' is the best ballad he's written yet, and the chants of Panda's 'Derek' is a stroke of gentleness the group rarely achieve."
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