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Strawberry Jam

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iTunes Review

Having dodged numerous genre labels (freak folk, experimental indie, neo-tribal, noise rock, etc) since the band’s inception in 2000, Baltimore/Brooklyn’s Animal Collective continues its tradition of shedding its musical skin with each new release. Challenging, but far from impenetrable, Strawberry Jam won’t be an easy listen for some, yet indoctrinated fans will likely find it their most accessible effort yet. Setting the tone is opener “Peacebone,” percolating with brittle synth notes and sound bytes, creating a jittery, game arcade ambience, until the pace slows and finds a repetitive groove. Avey Tare steps in with perfectly pleasant, sing-song vocals, and all is well until the unexpected (which you expected all along) happens:  background tracks of monstrous growls and snarls crack the peace like a whip. The Collective’s caveat is clear: Don’t get too comfy in our pop world, we still want to keep you on the edge. And so it goes, this collection of oddly intoxicating songs, blending the cinematic (“Fireworks”), the surreal (“#1,” “Cuckoo Cuckoo”), the pleasantly pop (“Chores,” “Derek”), and the psychedelic (ok, the entire album, but especially “Unsolved Mysteries”) into works of sonic art. Guitarist Tare takes on more of the vocal duties this time around, but co-founder and drummer Panda Bear, with his Brian Wilson-imitation vocals, still co-navigates. The band’s talent for building strong, quirky rhythms and layers of sound into a unique pop-couture hybrid is unmatched. Their most consistent effort yet, Strawberry Jam is by turns uplifting, cerebral, transformative, curious and always engaging.

Customer Reviews

It tastes delicious

Animal Collective are a band that not only have their own sound (which is very hard to define). Strawberry Jam is their "poppiest" release to date. You're still not going to find them on TRL but it is definitely their most accessible record to date (that doesn't mean much). The sounds on this record are so dense and distorted that it will either scare the **** out of you or create this amazing feeling of triumph. That's why most critics and indie kids around the world love AC because they have the weirdest sense of what's beautiful and what's not. The acid tripping, psychedelic freak folk that they evolved from is scattered through bits and pieces of the album. Each new sound is something totally out of this world. Avey Tare does his fair bit of screaming but still leaves us humming along to these wonderful and destructive harmonies. It's been two years but it's been worth the wait. A band that has gone from different to not sane, Do yourself a favor and pick this up. 90/100 Standout Tracks: "Unsolved Mysteries", "For Reverend Green", "Fireworks", "Derek

Weird For Weird's Sake

One of my all time favorite songs happens to be an Animal Collective song. However, AC is one of the most annoying bands arround because they are capable of such amazing music, yet insist on making obnoxious loop driven crap like they do on this album. Clearly, AC has got it figured out - make music that is hard to enjoy and everyone will pretend that it's just hard to understand and therefore fancy themselves among the Elite for "getting it". I get it....

... ... ..

... Oh my god. This is quite possibly the most interesting album I've ever heard. Their best hands-down. Starts out awesome with Peacebone and just gets better and better. Amazing.


Formed: 1999 in Baltimore, MD

Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Animal Collective were formed in Baltimore County, Maryland, by longtime friends and musical collaborators Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb), and Geologist (Brian Weitz). With a penchant for genre-hopping and studio experimentation, the group began drawing comparisons to everyone from the Residents and the Flaming Lips to the Incredible String Band and the Holy Modal Rounders. Solo and side projects proved to be a continual occupation for most of the group's...
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