FatCat’s first release of 2007 arrives in the form of a CD, EP and 12” from Animal Collective, featuring three previously unreleased tracks (plus one live version), which were recorded at the same sessions as the band’s hugely successful ‘Feels’ album (released October 2005).
The EP is based around the lead track, ‘People’ – a hypnotic, slow-lumbering roller that builds purposefully around a haze of shimmering guitar and piano, a see-sawing (almost Fall-like) bass riff, scuttling percussion, and dubby explosions. With little in the way of vocal lines, Avey Tare’s voice is instead utilised in a series of simplistic chanted affirmations, yelps and screams.
‘People’ is followed up by ‘Tikwid’ – a quirky, upbeat live favourite that motors on rollercoaster piano, cartoon-ish sampled squelches; bustling drum stabs and a runaway vocal chorus. It’s another killer track that sounds like noone else and fits snugly alongside the likes of ‘Grass’ or ‘The Purple Bottle’.
The brief spectre of ‘My Favorite Colors’ conjures a haze of processed, haunted ballroom vocal warbles and slurred laughter, whilst the EP ends on a live recording of ‘People’ – recorded in Boston on the band’s US tour from Buffalo in march 2005, just prior to the recording of ‘Feels’. The first three tracks were recorded during those sessions in Seattle with producer Scott Colburn (Sun City Girls / Climax Golden Twins) in April 2005, and the material features significant contributions from violinist Eyvind Kang (Mr. Bungle / Sun City Girls / Arto Lindsay / Laurie Anderson / John Zorn), and Kristín Anna Valtysdóttir (Múm / Storsveit Nix Noltes), who plays piano.
Taking inspiration from a wide range of sources without ever being reducible to a list of influences, Animal Collective are making challenging modern pop - music that defies easy classification or lazy pigeonholing. The mixture of electronics and traditional instrumentation, of songform and soundscape are integrated brilliantly and totally convincingly into a coherent, logical whole. Bubbling, rippling instrumental playing coheres into fluid song structures that seem to swell and ebb, building a throbbing, shimmering wall of sound.