Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two excellent and sane reviews, by two sharp dressed men, of the new Animal Collective

Mike Powell in the Voice

Taylor Parkes at Quietus

Merriweather being a record I'm starting to love after initially feeling it was a bit like eating a whole box of Entenmanns in one sitting

It's funny watching AC haters frothing at the mouth isn't it? They can't help it, their loathing is so visceral, such an uncontrollable gut aversion to the sound: its maculate, confusional qualities seem to be intolerable, a real affront to sensibility--the way the music mixes levels, categories, registers like so much spin art (or more apposite in this case, like tie-dye). Yet there also seems to be a principled aspect to the revulsion, a real concordance of aesthetics and ideology, taste and social allegiance. It reminds me a bit of those people in the UK who hate hate HATE crusties, on principle, which really means squeamishness sublimated, elevated with a gloss of quasi-pro-workerist indignation ("bloody trustifarians", "soap-dodging layabouts" etc). In the UK that often seems based in the mod thing of "clean living in difficult circumstances" and the accompanying sharp, clear sound-aesthetic; the ressentiment the lower middle class are structurally led to feel towards that fraction of the upper middle class who aspire downwards, who step off the career track. See also attitudes to psy-trance and (most relevant to AC-disgust) jam bands. It's not quite the same in America, where there isn't really an equivalent to the mod stratum in society. But something similar is going on. You just think "why not funnel your hate towards something actually... hate-worthy?". Of course anybody's entitled to simply not like the records, but there does seem to be something more going on a lot of the time, like it's one of those instances where aesthetics and ideology, sonics and the social, conjoin very tightly. Judging by the intensity, the virulence, of the anti-reactions...