When The Strokes decided to call it quits for a while, New York City’s indie scene was left mostly vacant. Julian Casablancas and company were quickly replaced with newcomers like Vampire Weekend and Sleigh Bells, but these bands did not have the clout to stand up to such fierce competition.
With real opponents gone, fellow city-slickers Animal Collective claimed the crown and created a more playful and experimental record than other recent indie oufits with 2009’s “Merriweather Post-Pavillion.” Mixing their synthesizer experimentation and pop sensibilities, Animal Collective received critical acclaim. Just like many other great bands though, they disappeared, at least for a moment.
In the winter of 2011, to much fan and critical approval, the Brooklyn-based sound-smiths announced their ninth studio album, entitled “Centipede Hz.” Following in the footsteps that they themselves laid with “Merriweather,” Animal Collective has created yet another fantastic collection of abstract yet oddly coherent pop songs.
Like the rest of their albums, Animal Collective rely more on texture, space, intensity and timbre rather than lyrical emotion. Each song conveys a different emotion with different sounds, like orchestral hits (on “New Town Burnout”), and a mix of trashcan lids and cymbals (on the album opener “Moonjock”). The song that blends all of these elements in the most skillful way is “Applesauce.” Mixing tribal drums and an addicting melody, this tune is the highlight of the album. Second only to “Applesauce” is the track “Rosie Oh.” Possibly the only song on the album with understandable lyrics, “Rosie Oh” is the most sing-along friendly song. With a stripped-down arrangement sitting under the vocals of Avey Tare (Davey Portner) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), this song is perhaps one of the most radio-friendly songs here.
Like many other noise rock acts, Animal Collective took a few turns around the block before getting their act together. Luckily, Animal Collective has hit their stride at just the right time, having two incredible albums back to back. “Centipede Hz” has not only equaled “Merriweather Post-Pavilion” but has surpassed it in nearly every way. “Centipede” is more melodic and, surprisingly, more experimental than its predecessor.
Despite having to wait almost three years for a follow-up, Animal Collective has delivered their best work yet with “Centipede Hz.”
Contact CU Independent Staff Writer Patrick Fort at Patrick.email@example.com.