Animal Collective releases the otherworldly “The Painters”

Experimental synth pop band Animal Collective dazzles with a palatable sample size of their last LP.

Courtesy of Domino Records

Courtesy of Domino Records

Kyle Kohner, Writer

Nearly a year after releasing the polarizing “Painting With,” Animal Collective unleashes a similarly woozy EP kindred to their glitchy, off-kilter 2016 compilation of synth pop earworms.

A sensory overload

Animal Collective’s “Painting With” dazzled with their brightest and most pop-oriented sound yet and “The Painters” furthers much of the same. For how overtly fetching the synth loops, multi-layered vocals and befuddling production seemed, much of “Painting With” progressively appeared untidy and overtly repetitious, resulting in an album that felt overbearingly longer than its actual time duration. With the recent release of their EP, listeners are treated with a perfect sample size of its predecessor’s sensory-overloaded sound.

“The Painter’s” EP adequately accents the otherworldliness of its full-length ancestor. Similar to “Painting With,” this release focuses around modular synths and sprawling percussive beats. Parallel to last year’s most popular track off of “Painting With,” “FloriDada,” the initial track off their EP “Kinda Bonkers” radiates the same awkwardly whimsical and sweet sound as the sonically similar relative. It exudes a wavering energy, juxtaposed between jubilated primitivism and psychedelic synthetic experimentation, while the nuanced subtleties of Panda Bear and Avery Tare’s vocals hit gracefully within the coaction of their near-inseparably meshing yelps. With Panda Bear and Avey Tare lending their vocals in such an interchangeable manner in “Kinda Bonkers” and even within the two middle tracks, it almost seems the two finish each other’s words as if they are the same if not allied beings.

A safe accentuation

The middle of this EP passes through without much memory, given how deep the first track cut. Nevertheless, they manage to do so cooperatively in accordance to keeping this EP’s cohesive mood. “Peacemaker” conjures up a palatable, relaxed sound absent from ”Painting With,” made possible through the less eccentric but more somber vocal exchanges hinging upon icy synths. The pulsating “Goalkeeper” almost puts this EP’s success on the line, as it possesses much of the sameness of an atypical Animal Collective track, slightly underwhelming expectations.

The last song in this four-track EP, “Jimmy Mack” covers the famed 1966 hit from Martha Reeves and The Vandellas. Yes, that “Jimmy Mack.” The original is a classic aching swoon and yet for some fluke reason Animal Collective succeeded to translate the classic’s same feeling into a sound they have rarely experimented with.

While safe and for the most part a regurgitation of last year’s “Painting With,” Animal Collective’s “The Painters” accentuated the best of a polarizing project by providing an imperative explanation of its 2016 synthetically-drenched precursor.

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