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11 May 2009

Animal Collective - 'Here Comes the Indian' (Paw Tracks)

The first record to be feature all four Animals was a pretty big deal in my world when it came out, though I don't think I listened to it nearly as much as I thought I would. More likely I decided it was brilliant and then shelved it and forgot about it under the mountain of other things coming in back then, cause listening now its like I've never heard it before. I mean, those were the days ... before these guys even had a Wikipedia page! The nervous energy from Danse Manatee is there, and there's also some vocal harmonies doubled with heavily processed sounds - the blueprint for Sung Tongs and all that followed. All the scraping and ringing is done in such earnest - it's all so fucking tightly composed and exact - and it really does feel like a 'statement' of sorts. The effects boxes might be a little more overt here, compared to their later (less sourceable) weirdness, being that you can actually recognise the digital delay that's all over this like yogurt on peacock feathers. Mid-00's impressionism can be such a beautiful thing: a million precedents of Other musics and a million refracted walks in the woods, through the glossy-eyed calibrations I and a million peers shared in 2003. Maybe when all is said and done this will be what I remember as their best album; that's often the case with the one just before the "breakthrough" (which usually just refers to terms commercial) for lots of artists. Course, I haven't heard their newest record, which people keep telling me "changes music forever". Even if it did, would I want that to happen? My breakthrough was Danse Manatee - after struggling for so long myself wanting to find pop music as fractured and extreme as what I imagined it could be, that record was it - but this one is no slouch, either.

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