Release the Sounds: Animal Collective, 'Fall Be Kind'

​In the throes of a digital world, it may seem pointless to review material for an album that was released to in MP3 format almost a month ago. Despite that, we think it's worth noting that the brilliance of Animal Collective's new Fall Be Kind EP (physically released today in the U.S.) is the kind of piece that is best absorbed through the majesty of 12-inch vinyl as the walls of your room echo with sound and smoke trails from you last spliff of homegrown race to the top of the ceiling. But no matter the format, it's abundantly clear that Fall's five-song splendor ironically exhibits AC at the hight of their swirling pop appeal. 

Starting with the moody creep and cascading synths of “Graze,” the slow burn of anticipation takes hold, generating images of autumn seasons, continuing a trend in AC's music that seems inextricable ties with the seasons (i.e. Merriweather Post Pavilion = winter, Strawberry Jam= summer). The last two minutes of the song stops on a dime and dives into a sunny sliver of flutes and folky textures that seem impossible to sit still too.


AC doesn't wait long to hit you with their standout track “What do I Want? Sky,” a prime exhibit of their playground of layers and loops that provokes primal emotion and technical awe–plus, it's impressive they managed to legally procure a sample of the Grateful Dead's “Unbroken Chain.” Punctuated by echoing snare snaps and lead vocalist David Porter (aka Avey Tare's) Verve-like vocals.

But if there's one overall star of this EP, it's the lush vocal exchanges between Porter and Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) masterfully exhibited in the short-n-sweet track “Bleed.” It's a sentiment that retains its luster on the song “On a Highway,” skipping along with sparse percussion, those unforgettable synth swells and harmonies executed with Beach Boy precision.

Fall Be Kind ends as it should, with the album's most lofty and loudest track, “I Think I Can,” which bangs along at a hypnotic pace while hand claps and layered vocals bounce around and rattle their into your eardrums. A humorously sung conversation between Lennox and Porter that repeats the phrase “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can” wonderfully concludes the EP. 

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