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Here Comes The Indian

Animal Collective
Here Comes The Indian
(Paw Tracks)

This is one of those albums that I read a lot about last year, yet didn't take the time to fully explore until recently. Listening to the work of the group in the order that it was released, I feel like Animal Collective is one of those groups that is just about ready to peak. Their 2CD Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished/Danse Manatee is a huge dollop of sound that works much of the time, but simply flails a bit too much in other spots while their Camfire Songs release is one of the trippiest post-folk/whatever releases that I've ever heard.

Here Comes The Indian is the most recent work from the group, and it also finds them at their best in pulling off their hyper-weird sonics that mix folk, electronic, tribal, and about five other genres into something that definitely gets your attention. "Native Belle" opens the disc quietly with the occasional strummed guitar, but background chanting and noise lets you know that something is coming. Eventually, the track bursts forth with multiple layers of filtered vocals, roundabout percussion, and other instrumentation that mainly acts as texture next to everything else.

"Hey Light" keeps things punching with more layers of filtered vocals before pummeling drums and stereo-offset screams land staccato smacks in your face before dropping off into controlled shrieks. The whole thing builds up into another blistering freakout before again dropping off into an almost down-south choir like coda. "Infant Dressing Room" finds the group stretching things out into trippier territory, and the result is something like you might get if you crossed Fennesz with anti-folk. "Panic" and "Two Sails Of A Sound" continue down the same path, mixing pitch-bent vocals, chopped-up real instrumentation, digital deconstruction, and washes of sound into a middle-section that drags a bit too much.

Things come crashing back down to earth real quick on "Slippi," the shortest and most intense track on the entire release. In just over 2 minutes, the group mixes full-on guitar noise assaults with hilarious vocals and primal drumming. If it were randomly tossed into Top 40 rotation somewhere, minds would either be blown or the vast majority of listeners would simply end up crying and holding their ears. So it goes with Animal Collective. They're tearing down genre walls and obviously having a blast doing it. Here Comes The Indian is a great album, but if and when they really start to get focused, pants will be shit.

Rating: 7.75