Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Year-end reflection: part 1

The sites I contribute to have released their year-end lists and articles today, so I'd like to direct your attention to Tiny Mixtapes and Music in Review Online. I'm copying my contribution to the TMT festivities below. I wrote a bunch of track commentary ("best tracks of '08") for MIR, but have to say that my choices for those spots are still being decided in my head, if they ever are. I will say that AC's "Water Curses" was my favorite track of '08. Whatever, read if you like, and feel free to comment.

Animal Collective- "Water Curses"-Water Curses EP

The opening windup of “Water Curses” sees an anxious group of swimmers gathered at the edge of an undisturbed lagoon, about to jump into the welcoming blue. Their bodies crash through the glassy surface, and their playful thrashing roils the water into choppy, frothing waves. Or maybe those few seconds see the nervous prey getting a head start in a chase through the rainforest, as if “The Most Dangerous Game” were enjoyable for both parties. Ridiculous metaphorical situations aside, “Water Curses” is one of the most ebullient songs of the year. Animal Collective has never sounded so carefree and breezy, but, as usual, the joyful music belies an unsettling murk beneath it. The unrelenting drums indeed call to mind a chase; a warped mariachi band shows up at some point, and Avey Tare’s unsettling, obscure lyrics — sung in his naïve falsetto — further contribute to the polarized-yet-cohesive, unforgettable feel of “Water Curses.” Though this EP didn’t sate my hunger for the band’s next album, it did provide a concise example of a quintessential Animal Collective song.

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