Following the Paw Tracks release of Hollinndagain at the end of last year, a recording of a live performance from 2001, Animal Collective are back again with some more material in the form of People, a colourfully-packaged four song EP offering three previously unreleased studio tracks.
Opener and title track “People” is a slow-burner, with a Steve Reich-esque motif of shiny guitar and twinkling piano being gradually joined by a reverb-heavy rythym section. As it builds the track offers vocals in the form of yelps and “yeah”s rising to choruses of distorted and joyful screaming, the rattling roll of the drums driving on the upbeat, rising amble behind it. These off-kilter vocals offer an enjoyably jarring and rousing counterpoint to the niceyness of the simple riffs playing out in the background with the increasingly bombastic percussion adding further to the texture. But although its a good track and builds to perhaps a greater racket than they generally do, you could be left feeling like Animal Collective have offered this kind of thing before.
glorious sparkling insruments and vocals that flit between softly feeling around and spinning off on fast disorientations
As could also be said of following track “Tikwid”, but maybe they’re just a bit more striking when hitting the pop. The lead track had a distinctly Pet Sounds-era Beach Boys feel in its echoing instrumentation but “Tikwid” also picks up their vocal harmonies and rolls out a glorious leftfield pop song. It’s perhaps a shame that whereas the work of those such as The Beach Boys, Scott Walker and Phil Spector’s gang of groups were pop music in both the generic and descriptive sense, winning popular opinion and places in the charts, in contrast their followers today like Ariel Pink, Why?, Danielson and Adam Green create fascinating twists on the template, only to remain resigned to the sidelines. But then Adam Green’s subject matter is an issue, and the majority of the rest of it is probably just a bit too strange, and “Tikwid” as well is disctinctly wierd, but quite obviously that’s what makes it great. It offers glorious sparkling insruments and vocals that flit between softly feeling around and spinning off on fast disorientations; harmonies grow in the background before exploding into full group “oohs” and “aahs” half way through. Comparing to previous pop form, it’s more interesting than “Did You See The World”, easier to listen to than “Grass” (having exorcised the noise on “People”) and just as catchy as “Who Could Win A Rabbit”. Great.
offering polyphonies of the distinctive group vocals and light top-end instrumental reverberations
The third track “My Favourite Colours” mixes the first two together, offering polyphonies of the distinctive group vocals and light top-end instrumental reverberations, all light and fluffy, and altogether reminding of some cinematic snowfall on a picturesque winters evening, all in under two minutes. The last track is a live version of “People”, which picks it up a little in its organic atmosphere where the vocal stabs and instruments yelps out over the rythms with a fair amount more intensity, giving it a bit more of an edge, though overall it’s not that different.
The People EP is another winner for Animal Collective, who remain consistently good and still very interesting. The band beatuifully mince up concepts of rhythm and melody to create alternatingly catchy/escaping songs. People isn’t particularly different though to previously released material, but then as some of these are tracks that have been played live for years (the live “People” was actually recorded in 2005) and it was recorded in the sessions that made Feels, it’s no wonder it sounds a bit similar or familiar. It stands more as a nice appetite whetter as we await a new studio record.