x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Animal Collective's newest effort brims with original sounds

CD review: Despite lacking the coalescence of its predecessor, Centipede Hz overflows with more original sounds and ideas than any other new release you're likely to hear this year.

Animal Collective
Centipede Hz
(Domino)
***

After 15 years and eight albums, few bands are able to consistently resist the urge to rest on their laurels. Sticking with a winning formula must have been particularly tempting for Animal Collective after 2009's Merriweather Post Pavilion, an album with which the restlessly creative band finally earned significant overground success. But – as they love to keep reminding us – the Baltimore indie mainstays simply aren't like other bands. With their reinvention on Centipede Hz, the group ditches the woozy, blissed-out sounds of Merriweather in favour of something far more chaotic. Although diehard fans wouldn't have it any other way, others may find the album an alienating listen. The aggressive jumble of bleeps, off-kilter organ licks and crashing drums works remarkably well on the lead single Today's Supernatural, but elsewhere the band struggle to find sufficient structure for their endless inspiration. The giant rhythm of Wide Eyed promises great things but never truly delivers, and Mercury Man is so energetic it renders itself bizarrely listless. Despite lacking the coalescence of its predecessor, Centipede Hz overflows with more original sounds and ideas than any other new release you're likely to hear this year.