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Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

Wednesday 7th November / presented by Ed Williams

Domino

Animal Collective’s latest and 9th studio album sees a deviation from the more accessible work of Merriweather Post Pavillion and a return to the complicated and harsher soundscapes of their earlier work. It demands active listening; distortion, sweeping synth, white noise, clicks, lasers and space age sounds fill the gaps left by the distinctive vocals and beat heavy rhythms.
In a word – dense.

There’s a lot going on here. It’s like pop melodies have been jammed through a black hole, crushed, and then sprinkled with layer upon layer of cosmic miscellany that sinks into the core to produce a layered offering that represents rich background noise with hard hitting peaks at regular intervals.

The surprising part is that the final product, while being composed of jagged and conflicting elements; is still very smooth, and still carries a familiar structure that provides a listener at least some comfort. Brief interludes of cosmic chatter top and tailing the tracks fill up any silence, and provide a continuity that helps blend the discord together.

The album is consistent in it’s inconsistency, and spans moods within it: the beachside cocktail of ‘Father Time’ drifting into the melodramatic baroque chords of ‘New Town Burnout’.

A difficult and easy listen at the same time, those willing to tune in to these less-than-accessible elements of Centipede Hz, and fans of Animal Collective’s earlier work in general, will likely find themselves appropriately satisfied.

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