Animal Collective - Centipede Hz | B+
It has been more than three years since Animal Collective wowed audiences with its most accessible album to date, “Merriweather Post Pavilion.” It goes without saying that new and old fans highly anticipated the band’s latest release, “Centipede Hz.” But for newer fans, it may not be what they expected.
The album is a departure from the poppy yet weird tunes of the group’s 2009 release. This might be because the whole gang is back together again — founding member Deakin was absent when they recorded and toured for the album.
It seems that Animal Collective took a left turn along a winding highway in the spirit of this reunion, stringing listeners along with a multi-layered mass of samples and sounds that are “Centipede Hz.”
The standout hit and second track, “Today’s Supernatural,” features Avey Tare screaming “Let go,” amidst swirling, distorted carousel-esque melodies. The entire song has a choppy, delightfully syncopated rhythm that gets listeners’ energy high, thanks to Panda Bear’s unconventional percussion.
While this single is a good measure of the release, it can leave listeners feeling a bit lost. But they’ll find their way again with the subsequent track, “Rosie Oh.” Panda Bear’s soulful voice provides a sense of melody on this funky song, which seems to be on the same sound wavelength as “Tomboy,” his most recent solo album release.
Each track on “Centipede Hz” becomes less frenzied than the one before it, with interludes often containing voice and radio samples for cohesion.
Another song of note is “New Town Burnout,” a Panda-centric track. At first, it’s stripped down aside from an avant-garde sample track, drums and Panda Bear’s voice. Indecipherable samples added later build this song up, but in the end it all drowns out into white noise, making way for the next track – the upbeat and electronic “Monkey Riches.” Avey Tare supplies a catchy vocal melody among exploding drums and electric noise in this danceable tune.
“Centipede Hz” culminates with “Amanita,” a track with elements that recall the band’s first album, Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished. There are not as many samples, and the primary elements are Avey’s brassy, shrill voice and Panda Bear’s rhythmic drumming.
Animal Collective has served up a worthy follow-up to Merriweather. Ultimately, the group is testing the waters and fascinating listeners with an ever-evolving sound. “Centipede Hz” is both an exploration of Animal Collective’s musical creativity and a testament to the band’s roots. It fits perfectly in an impressive discography of wacky, experimental rock.