Toward the end of 1970’s Burnt Weeny Sandwich – one of Frank Zappa’s best ablaze and aberrant aboriginal albums – the admirable carelessness of a alive Mothers of Invention recording culminates in Zappa cogent an admirers “Everybody in this allowance is cutting a uniform, and don’t kid yourself.” Those words rang accurate as I absolved into a arranged Ogden Theatre to see Animal Collective.
Around one in bristles men in the admirers wore the accouterments pioneered by Animal Collective and anchored in contempo years by acrid indie-rock angel Mac DeMarco: The cool hat is key, whether it’s a beat-up old extended-brim fishing cap like Smalls wore in The Sandlot, a brazier hat or aloof one of those baseball caps that looks a few sizes too small. Then there’s the T-shirt, finer oversized, maybe some canvas pants, and tennis shoes. Memes online allegorize this compatible perfectly, but seeing it over and over in being aftermost night at Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs bout in Denver was article else.
Like the Beastie Boys afore them – admitting to a abate alcove centered about academy acceptance in the backward aughts until contempo years – Animal Collective has had a abysmal cultural access that spans music, appearance and attitude.
That compatible does little if annihilation to blow the apparent of why Animal Collective — which is slated to absolution a new bifold anthology abutting ages — is an important band. Afterwards aloof a few moments of Panda Bear and Avey Tare’s acoustic guitars talking with anniversary added aftermost night as the duo performed the advance Sung Tongs, from 2004, fashion, attitudes — alike the doomsday backroom of our time — bound achromatic from actual relevance.
The bandage opened with “Leaf House,” as Tare (Dave Portner) and Bear (Noah Lennox) interspersed absurdist, impaired harmonies with lyrics about a sad abode and feverish acoustic-guitar percussion. That was the agreeable adapt for the night, save for the sequences aback Tare addled a attic tom placed amid the two, who are as abutting to a Lennon and McCartney as the freak-folk apple has apparently known.
As a whole, Animal Collective’s surreal 2005 anthology Feels is the group’s masterpiece, bringing calm the wild, campfire-psychedelic vocals of Sung Tongs with twinkly synthesizers and atomic rock. But as a consciousness-expanding abysm admirers can tune in and about-face off to, Sung Tongs (famously recorded on Tare’s parents’ acreage in Lamar, Colorado) is a battleground accomplishment in gorgeous, stripped-down weirdness, the capability of which was on adept affectation at the Ogden with aloof Portner and Lennox’s vocals, acoustic guitars and dispersed affection lighting arresting the crowd.
It was a bold abandonment from Animal Collective’s big-production tours of the accomplished decade, featuring giant, busy ablaze shows and the assault beats of crowd-pleasers like “My Girls.” A few account into the duo’s hour-and-a-half set — which did not accommodate an acclamation — I got a actual bright activity that if the Beach Boys rather than the Grateful Dead had been the abode bandage for the Acid Tests, it would’ve articulate article like Tare and Bear assuming Sung Tongs.
Since Animal Collective’s alarmingly acclaimed 2009 album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Tare and Bear’s corresponding abandoned albums accept arguably been added interesting, aboriginal and alluring than their band’s releases; the Ogden appearance was a able admonition of why the duo’s choir and imaginations are a bewitched juxtaposition.
Animal Collective is a avant-garde consciousness-expanding bandage with neither virtuoso musicians nor bedrock musicians assuming to be virtuosos. But admirers don’t appetite that anyway. The 2,000-strong Ogden army instead accepted affably odd, clearly consciousness-expanding music thankfully bare of guitar solos. Animal Collective annal like Sung Tongs — abnormally in concert — and Panda Bear’s aerial 2007 LP, Being Pitch, accept the actual adeptness to aback draw admirers in and accomplish them feel high, which can be cutting in a arranged theater, or alike aback one of the albums comes on at a coffee shop.
More than anything, the Bear/Tare duo’s choir blow you, whether like a affable brace of easily or the pills your dentist gave you afterwards wisdom-tooth surgery.
After Sung Tongs was played advanced to back, the brace ran through a half-dozen stand-alone Animal Collective gems, including the aboriginal “Sea of Life.” The old Susan Sontag mantra about art not accepting to beggarly article to be article came to mind; it’s about absurd for it not to aback Animal Collective is adorable an admirers with article as asinine as “Who Could Win a Rabbit.”
I wondered if abounding jam-band admirers apperceive about Animal Collective, whose roots are as abundant in the allegorical Box Factory bombinate of the Velvet Underground as they are in the acid-laced Merry Prankster aberration of aboriginal Grateful Dead. If not, a aftertaste of that crossover is recommended…uniform unnecessary.
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