10 September 2013

10th September - Animal Collective's Strawberry Jam

Artist – Album: Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam
Released:  10th September 2007
Sounds Like: It’s a Good Life

There’s a well loved Twilight Zone episode set around little Anthony Fremont, who lives in Peaksville, in what was Ohio. Anthony looks like every other six-year-old; unlike the other residents of Peaksville, who oddly appear to live in constant fear of the little boy. We quickly learn the reason for their trepidation though, as we witness the god-like Anthony read minds, send “bad people” to the cornfield in the middle of nowhere and turn his neighbour into a jack-in-a-box. In reality, Anthony is one of the best monsters in the Twilight Zone universe, a potent cocktail of emotional immaturity and unbridled, terrible power. I bring this up because I hear the same heady mixture of the innocent and the freakish in Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective’s seventh album.

Peacebone’ gets things started with it’s tale about dinosaurs, sing-song chorus and mutters of “bonefish”, as well as the abrasive intro, random monstrous roars and screamed middle section. It chugs along on a repetitive synthesizer sequence but sounds a world apart from any other form of electronica. The lyrics also seem to have an element of naïve wisdom buried in amongst the patchwork of striking visuals, and so “a blow out does not mean I will have a good time” sits not too far from “I bet the monster was happy when we made him a maze, cause he don’t understand intentions and he just looks at your face”.

The whole album continues along this same dual direction of simple and oddball. Possibly the best triple whammy found in any Animal Collective album appears when the shrieking, could-blow-up-at-any-minute “For Reverend Green” is sandwiched by Panda Bear’s giddy ‘Chores’ and Avery Tare’s wonderful ‘Fireworks’.

As with most artists that experiment with the weird side of rock, this album is unlikely to appeal to everybody. But it's good they're making music like this. A real good thing. And tomorrow... tomorrow's gonna be a... real good day!

Albumaday... rating: 9/10

1.       Peacebone – 5:13
2.       Unsolved Mysteries – 4:25
3.       Chores – 4:30
4.       For Reverend Green – 6:34
5.       Fireworks – 6:50
6.       #1 – 4:32
7.       Winter Wonder Land – 2:44
8.       Cuckoo Cuckoo – 5:42
9.       Derek – 3:01 

Listen to ‘Fireworks’: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ztvr09J7KK4

Also released on 10th September:
1975: Kiss – Alive!
Also released on 10th September:
1990: Neil Young – Ragged Glory

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