December 5th, 2012 1:18pm
I Want To Be In My Heart
Animal Collective @ Terminal 5 12/4/2012
Rosie Oh / Today’s Supernatural / Wide Eyed / Applesauce / Honeycomb / Lion In A Coma / Moonjock / Pulleys / New Town Burnout / Monkey Riches / Brother Sport / Peacebone // Cobwebs / My Girls / Amanita
The current incarnation of Animal Collective resembles a traditional rock band, but only vaguely. Their live show feels more physical and urgent with the emphasis on live percussion, but their aesthetic is too distinct to fit in comfortably with the expectations of rock, even when they’re at their most “rock.” This is mostly a good thing, but their show is a good reminder of how the visual correlation of playing an instrument and immediately recognizing the sound the musician is making is a big part of how we process the drama of live performance. For the most part, it’s really hard to tell what any of them are doing on stage and how it relates to what we’re hearing, even when it looks as straightforward as Avey Tare playing chords on a keyboard or Deakin strumming a guitar. This disconnect was especially interesting in the long drone jam phase in the middle of “Pulleys” – usually a jam section is presented as a way of highlighting the players’ musical virtuosity, but for them, it’s four or five minutes of mysterious hums that may or may not be coming from Avey’s keyboard, Deakin’s guitar or Geologist’s whatever the hell he has up there.
Avey switched up this dynamic by playing chords with a clean tone on an electric guitar on “Cobwebs” in the encore. This was a revelation! They had managed to take one of the most mundane sounds in modern music and make it seem exotic and strikingly beautiful in this context. They should play around with this more often in the future – it’s a largely unexplored thing for them, and I am certain they could do a lot with it without ever sounding like anything but themselves.
Also, as an aside: If you are inclined to like this band and have in some way dismissed Centipede Hz, I really urge you to reconsider it. It’s an excellent record, certainly one of their best, and I promise you that once you acclimate to its odd tonal logic, it all snaps together as a skewed pop album.
Buy it from Amazon.