In some sort of boyish excitement and anticipation for the upcoming Animal Collective show I’m attending, my first one mind you, I can’t seem to quit listening to the band that quite literally changed my musical viewpoint so many years back. Honestly, can you blame me? I don’t think there’s been this kind of concentration of genius in music for a really long while. Now, I may be preaching to the choir here, or you might absolutely despise them, or, who knows, you may have never even heard of them, but pander to me today, because I seriously think in any case, they’re worth another listen.
My first experience with Animal Collective was back in high school. For some reason, my friend decided to put the first four tracks of Feels at the end of a Death Cab for Cutie album. I remember thinking, “This isn’t Death Cab, but it is really good.” I promptly got Feels and wore it’s tiny little digital grooves out (I don’t know if that’s possible or not). I had been successfully brought into the cult of Animal Collective. It was a nice place to be, I remember being enamored by seemingly nonsensical lyrics that somehow evoked such emotional reactions, that all come down to singer Avey Tare’s wonderful ability, to put it bluntly, to swing between screaming and whispering, fast and slow, and knowing how to use it to great effect.
It’s a good job that Tare can evoke such emotions, as Feels shows, an entire album with songs about feelings (hmm, I wonder where the name came from), ranging from songs about falling in love and lust in “The Purple Bottle,” to “Banshee Beat”, a song about (I think) love lost at a young age. Feels is aurally amusing, as well, utilizing a staggering number of instruments throughout, creating a strange dreamlike soundscape that never fails to enthrall, and, just like Tare’s singing, can shift speeds at a whim. So, Feels isn’t just another album in my collection, it is one of the best albums by what is perhaps my favorite band. It isn’t just music to put on, rather a destination I can go, somewhere I can get away.