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Animal Collective: Merriweather Post Pavilion

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When Animal Collective discovered the majestic tones and harmonies of Brian Wilson's Smile, the band's penchant for noise changed on a genetic level. Repetition has always been the means by which the Baltimore foursome sculpts its hallucinatory jams, and Merriweather Post Pavilion is one more step up the evolutionary ladder since Feels brought the Collective out of the freak folk woods in 2005. By comparison, Merriweather is the perfect companion to its '07 masterpiece Strawberry Jam. The integrated electronics, call-and-response voices, and realized pop leanings are in full bloom on "In the Flowers," "My Girls" and "Brother Sport." When the distorted guitar loop of "Summertime Clothes" bleeds into the group's trademark slur of serene mantras, the many layers of the album rise to the surface and dangle threads just waiting to be tugged, while only offering hints at what further listens will reveal. 5 stars.

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