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by Stephen Moore
Sunday, September 2, 2012
As beguiling and multi-layered as ever, but this time in hyper-polished widescreen, Animal Collective’s invertebrate is no misnomer.
Three years in the making, the Baltimore natives’ 10th album is yet another dense, mildly psychedelic web of overlaid sounds.
Their first since 2007 with all four original members, and doubtless bolstered by the success of Merriweather Post Pavilion, Centipede Hz is a widescreen, all-you-can-eat affair, even for them.
A multitude of melodies, time signatures, samples and ideas rise and fall in great swells, from the white noise intro of opening gambit Moonjock right through to the pogo-friendly vitality of closer Amanita.
And while it’s impeccably produced, there’s so much to hear it requires your attention to get the most out of it.
Wide Eyed holds it all together, a thrum of intergalactic tribal beats and effects that zip and bounce around like mozzies in an Amazonian swamp.
The repetition of meaty, tumbledown synths in Applesauce is more easily swallowed, but it’s when they strip away a few layers to give their ideas and melodies a bit more space on Father Time that their talents are most immediate.
Overall Centipede is confident, warm and full of wonder as the masterful atmospherics see one tune segue into the next.
Like being caught in a ‘quake where the tectonic plates of electronica and obtuse indie meet, Animal Collective grind the very earth into beguiling angles and twisted shapes.