Animal Collective – Centipede Hz Animal Collective – Centipede Hz

I unfortunately love Animal Collective. This fact has alienated many of my closest relationships. Some people find my positive opinions on this band insufferable and choose other company. It does not help that I am very adamant regarding my love for this band and their direction through contemporary music. I may even draw comparisons between this band and other greats through music history, occasionally scoffing at other’s lack of respect. Yes it is that bad. “Its alright, some people didn’t like The Beatles.”

I am an asshole.

While I enjoyed Animal Collective’s early work, it was not until 2007’s Strawberry Jam when things became clear. 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion was the point when I became a raving lunatic. At the time, Merriweather was an album which not only fit my own personal narrative but offered new possibilities to what an record could be, what it could do, and where it could travel. For as much hype as that record received, I was in the center demanding more be brought forth to be given in tribute. A few years have passed and I feel everyone has calmed down a bit. We may be ready to discuss Centipede Hz.

I apologize. I am talking about this band like everyone should know them and already appreciate their work. Animal Collective is a weirdo group of sound collagists and quasi instrumentalists who weave together manipulated and natural sounds in a tapestry of futuristic proportions. It is pop music for a time decades beyond today. I discuss the merits of this band as I feel Merriweather Post Pavilion was the moment when the band’s artistic direction most successfully aligned with audience accessibility leading to one of the most interesting records of recent memory. I say masterpiece while others tell me to shut the fuck up.

Centipede Hz is the band’s 11th record and first in their second decade of making music. Centipede Hz follows a trail of offseason experimental projects done in collaboration with other visual artists. Despite my feelings on Animal Collective’s periphery work –terrible– Centipede Hz promises to refocus the band in their quest to redefine the parameters of music. I am hesitant about reviewing this album as the amount of lore surrounding my own view of this band can yield nothing less than a stellar opinion. If it is anything less than amazing, my world is going to collapse much to the cheers and jubilation of my friends and loved ones.

Merriweather saw the absence of longtime collaborator Deakin from both touring and recording. Centipede Hz sees the return of Deakin to writing, recording, and vocal duty. This fact most definably aligns Centipede Hz with 2007’s Strawberry Jam — the last record with active support from Deakin. Much like Strawberry Jam, Centipede Hz is full of violent undertones but unlike its predecessors, it is somewhat frustrated and less successful. Where once smooth and seamless textures cascaded like brooks, Centipede is jaunting and angular a fact that has yet to make itself clear with a judgment.

The cover for Centipede Hz is horrid. Sorry, album art is something I take very seriously and compared to the exquisite optical illusion of Merriwether and macro photography of Strawberry Jam, Centipede Hz is digital garbage. Both covers. Yes one of them is worse than the other. Even the early art school drawings which used to grace the covers had an aware naivety to them. Centipede Hz‘s artwork illuminates a critical flaw in judgment — one that may or may not persists throughout the record. `

Musically, Centipede Hz floats between interesting segments and somewhat lackluster compositions. The playfulness of “Applesauce” and the lucid quality of “Pulleys” make for a halfway enjoyable experience. This sentiment is contrasted with nearly an hour long of ruminating indifference. The memorable qualities which used to inhabit tracks like “For Revered Green,” and “Summertime Clothes” are gone and painfully missed. I am scared now and looking around for anything familiar. I am sober and terrified. Everything is different and I am 5 years older. I now have a lot of friends to whom I should offer appologies.

I can not fault a record for being different than its predecessor. Animal Collective will always be a group of artists who will make things based on current surroundings. Centipede Hz is a reaction just like previous records. I, personally, just do not get it like I did their previous ones. This fault may be mine or rest entirely with the band for making me look at that cover. Regardless, my opinions on Animal Collective seem to still run deep yielding multiple paragraph reviews that may or may not be made of any logical points. I find it important that after listening to Centipede Hz I went back through Merriweather to see if I was just drunk on my own sense of self worth. Despite my fears and reservations, Merriweather still lives up to one of the best albums in the past three centuries.

Thank god, I am still an asshole.

Centipede Hz Tracklist:

Today’s Supernatural
Rosie Oh
Wide Eyed
Father Time
New Town Burnout
Monkey Riches
Mercury Man

Animal Collective - Centipede Hz, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2012-09-05T11:01:57-07:00 rating 3.4 out of 5

3 Responses about “Animal Collective – Centipede Hz”

  • Charles says:

    I’m the only person I know who never liked this band…maybe my girlfriend. She’s rad.

  • Psychedelicpiper says:

    You spend a long time criticizing the album cover without even talking about the right one! This review was posted on what, September 5th? The artwork is old news for like 2 months now. They improved it a long while back with a better one:

    The final cover is legit and way trippy!

    This album goes beyond even MPP. Makes their previous stuff sound like a warm-up. While I do love MPP still, “Centipede Hz” is a gargantuan psychedelic rock opus. And the reason you probably don’t hear it is because you’re not familiar with some of their 60’s psychedelic rock influences. Have you heard Pink Floyd’s “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” for instance?

    I hear a lot of memorable moments in Centipede Hz. “Today’s Supernatural” obviously has that catchiness. “Rosie Oh” is absolutely genius. “New Town Burnout” lets Panda Bear take center stage with a very huge presence, strongly echoing his solo career. “Monkey Riches” is right up there with Avey’s best serious moments. “Amanita” closes off the album in a very epic, apocalyptic way, but offers hope through the message of imagination and creativity. There even seems to be a reference to psychedelic drug use in the final lines, which would go along with the song’s title.

    It’s pretty silly to see such a “big fan” who’s even alienated close relationships not post the correct cover, nor understand where Animal Collective are coming from musically. You even misspelled Merriweather once.

    You have a LONG ways to go in terms of reviews. But don’t take my comment as an insult so much as constructive criticism. Hope you enjoy the record in due time. Peace and love!

  • Dear Mr. Piper. I must thank you for pointing out my misspelling as it is now fixed.

    As for the cover, I was mistaken in thinking they used the above because people were discussing improvements in the general design. In a side by side comparison, I believe the above one causes less of a migraine than the one actually used. I actually think both covers are terrible but legitimately thought the above one was the newest. I do not know if I want to change it for fear or my own mental collapse.

    As for the actual album, it is pleasing to hear someone that is as connected with it to the level I hoped I would be. While I think the Piper comparison is a bit of a stretch, I can agree with the heavy psych influences in your parallel. It is erratic and energetic. In fact, framing this album in a such a way makes it a bit more digestible.

    I will disagree with the assumption I do not understand Animal Collective as I do believe one can understand something without having to like it. I understand why they did it and where it stands in their history. This record, for me, did not hold the same magic and wonder as their previous two. For me, this Centipede is not the apex of a long incline rather another act which I did not enjoy as much as the ones seen before.

    I will also say I feel a bit hurt in the suggestion that I am a novice in terms of music criticism but then again I had to make some spelling corrections. I will partially agree with you and even offer apologies for putting sugar in your gas tank as some sort of childish payback. I am not even sure that is your car. You may have walked here. Damn it.

    Regardless thank you for taking the time to write out your thoughts. Despite our disagreements, it is nice to see someone who can articulate their disapproval with examples, metaphors and well versed syntax. I still do not like this album but feel better to know other people do.

    -Kaptain Carbon