Avey Tare - Cows on Hourglass Pond - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Avey Tare - Cows on Hourglass Pond

by Tim Sentz Rating:7 Release Date:2019-03-22
Avey Tare - Cows on Hourglass Pond
Avey Tare - Cows on Hourglass Pond

Real talk: I think Animal Collective is one of the most overrated bands of the 21st century. They have a handful of good/great LPs – Strawberry Jam, Feels, and of course Merriweather Post Pavilion. Everything else is dull and filled with incessant noodling on synthesizers (even Sung Tongs – fight me IRL). The sum of all the individual parts combined makes for a predictable listen – even if the label is experimental pop.

Individually though, I find most of their work more tolerable. Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) has churned out solid LPs for a decade now (minus his most recent one; Deakin’s one-off solo record from 2016 Sleep Cycle wasn’t a total wash; and Avey Tare might be the more irritating one’s on an AnCo record, but he’s somehow managed to keep me entertained with projects like Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, and his last solo effort Eucalyptus. All of this is to say that I don’t care for Animal Collective, but each mastermind possesses talent.

Cows on Hourglass Pond continues the trends and themes that Tare’s been notorious for the last decade. If there’s one thing I can specifically point out about Animal Collective’s … well, collective is that they have a distinct sound that flows from album to album – it’s dreamy psychedelia, filled with random baroque pop quirkiness. Essentially, all songs since holy trinity of albums from the late-2000s, have felt like B-sides to those records.

The same can be said for the solo work of Tare. For example, “K.C. Yours” sounds like an MPP cut, mixed with “Reverend Green” from Strawberry Jam. It doesn’t work for me, at all. But Cows isn’t without charm. The expansive opener “What’s the Goodside?” begins like almost every album in the AnCo world – water sounds, warbly vocals, sampling, etc. – the usual. But around two minutes it kicks into a groovy synthy vibe, with beautiful chords to boot. Cows is unmistakably an AnCo record. The voice manipulations in “Eyes on Eyes,” coupled with echoey samples, off-center guitar licks – all AnCo hallmarks. Even when Tare tries to switch things up, it still comes off as lazy at this point.

The album isn’t awful, but from a non-purist, it simply sounds like almost everything else Tare’s done, in and out of Animal Collective. “Remember Mayan” is another highlight to me though, mostly because of how straightforward it is with its acoustic strumming, beat orientations, and barely noticeable vocal manipulations – all leading to a more unfiltered Tare, which is a nice touch and hearkens back to Eucalyptus (an undoubtedly superior album). At this point though, it’s unlikely Tare will ever change his aesthetic. Along with Panda Bear, Geologist, and Deakin, he’s carved out a niche audience who crave this kind of music. Call me when he breaks new ground though, as I’m sure he’s still got more to offer.

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