I enjoy Animal Collective as much as the next guy, which is why I'm baffled by this album failing to translate in any sort of major enjoyment to me. I have to admit I kind of saw this coming, though. Many of these tracks were released on singles before the album release, and I only enjoyed a few of them. However, I have to admit that the sonic qualities of these tracks really do come together into a cohesive direction on the LP. Everything works together as one. The album is basically Voltron, and the singles were merely automatons waiting to be assembled into a mechanized psych pop machine.
Though the direction and style this album embraces is pretty clear, I can't say I'm a fan of it. The disruptive, glossy delay that's covering nearly everything on these songs doesn't make them all that appealing. For me, it actually has the opposite effect. Panda Bear writes some really captivating melodies on "Surfer's Hymn" and "Last Night at the Jetty," but the cut and paste percussion, cacophonous mixing, and muddy guitar sounds hardly serve as the perfect foundation to make these songs shine. The atmosphere on Person Pitch was so much less disruptive, which really let the songs shine. This album obviously puts a stronger emphasis on effects and volume, but neither are doing much for me.
The hazy wall of sound Panda Bear builds again and again on these tracks does put me into a mesmerized state of mind a few times--namely "Afterburner" and "Alsation Darn." But for me, the high is pretty mild.
I give Panda Bear a lot of respect for doing what he does in Animal Collective and in a solo capacity. I'll always check out whatever new joint he's pushing. This one just didn't do a lot for me, that's all.