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Album review: Animal Collective's 'Centipede Hz'

September 04, 2012|By Mikael Wood
(Atiba Jefferson / Domino…)

Animal Collective
"Centipede Hz"
(Domino)
2 1/2 stars (Out of 4)

There's an awful lot of shouting on the new album by Animal Collective. That won't surprise anyone who's followed this Baltimore-born outfit since the early 2000s, when it was nibbling at college radio with freaky tribal-noise records like "Danse Manatee" and "Here Comes the Indian." In 2009, though, Animal Collective emerged from its underground burrow with "Merriweather Post Pavilion," a sparklingly melodic psych-pop collection that crashed the Top 20 on Billboard's album chart and established the band as indie rock's go-to feel-good crew. (Hit up YouTube to see David Letterman attempting to suss the group's DayGlo-clad backup dancers.)

Some of those warm-and-fuzzy vibes remain on "Centipede Hz," as in the bouncy "Rosie Oh" and "Father Time," a celestial funk jam with a groove that seems to stretch to eternity. But recording together in a room (as opposed to assembling songs online) for the first time in years, Animal Collective also reengaged the primal aggression of its early work: Opener "Moonjock" layers splintered keyboard riffs over heaving marching-band drums, while the breakneck "Monkey Riches" works up to a furious climax of wordless screams. In "Today's Supernatural" the band (which plays the Hollywood Bowl on Sept. 23) even reaches back for what feels like its version of a bludgeoning Black Sabbath tune. "Sometimes you gotta go get mad," singer Avey Tare yowls, and "Centipede Hz" is proof that he means it.

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