October 2, 2007

The eighth studio album from Brooklyn folk-pop weirdos Animal Collective opens with 25 seconds of squelchy insectoid chatter thats pretty dang annoying. Then the noise resolves into a chunky electro throb that forms the ribs of a fine pop song, a summertime tune that features samples of monster movies and words like brocolli and a chorus woven from the cheery sounds of steel drums. Peacebone foreshadows the whole delicious record, which forges the bands sometimes shambling experimentalismwhich rides the line between childlike and childishinto pulsing, strangely sublime songs that really stick in your head.

Earlier this year, AC member Panda Bear released a charming solo record called Person Pitch, which saw the singer diving deeper into Beach Boys waters than ever before. You can hear those pure, keening melodies here, especially on Winter Wonder Land and Derek. You can also hear the pop faith that underlies them: the faith that a bright, catchy melody is a sacrament for us all. But the sweetness of Strawberry Jam is savvily balanced by the sour, or at least the edgy. Peculiar sounds abound, and on the driving For Reverend Green, Avey Tare starts shrieking like a maniac or a stuck pig over the chipper squeezebox melodies. Now I think its alright to feel inhuman, he barks. If this is what inhumanity sounds like, Im down.