Animal Collective - Feels

by Rich Morris Rating: Release Date:

Feels is a big, daring collection with recurring themes of psychedelia, folk-rock, prog-rock, jazz, and modern classical composition. Above all the album is cohesive and tangible. This music spreads out ethereally, pulsates, and is ambitious and strange, punctuated by echoes of George Harrison, Brian Wilson, and Motown. Animal Collective seems more inspired by the elements within, rather than in an imitation of that music: There are bombastic drums that would be at home on Pet Sounds on the dynamically thrilling "Grass," and on "Flesh Canoe" there are guitar voicings taken from the pages of Harrison's All Things Must Pass. Perhaps the loveliest of domestic love songs exists in "Purple Bottle," a relaxed transitional ripple that has not one but three build-and-release crescendos. Lead by Avey Tare, AC can be gentle and engulfing, but then will just as easily bare its teeth, even on a beautiful washy song like "Bees" where fright mingles with an rusted autoharp, a spare confluence of harmonized voices, and tucked-in, dreamy synthesizers. On "Daffy Duck" AC tries on a late-'90s Aphex Twin mood, just without the metallic, chrome coldness, and that idea envelopes into an identifiable heart-on-sleeve yearning. Feels should restore faith in the idea that rock musicians can take time and create complete albums that are equally bold, inventive, and meaningful--a far cry from the current vogue of releasing a collection of disparate singles as an album. --Gabi Knight

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