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Album Review

Animal Collective, 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'

January 19, 2009
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Indie Rock
Animal Collective Merriweather Post Pavilion
Domino
ESSENTIAL "My Girls"

Forget that latest national unemployment report or the news from the Middle East. Here's the real proof the world's gone topsy-turvy: Animal Collective, the wildest purveyors of tribal psychedelia this side of the Amazon Basin, have written an album about getting old. And not just old, but all domestic and stuff. "I just want four walls and adobe slabs for my girls," goes the verse of "My Girls," the gauzy pop masterpiece that tethers the whirl of "Merriweather Post Pavilion." On "Summertime Clothes," vocalists Avery Tare and Panda Bear discard the woozy romanticisms of youth for a simple avowal of affection: "I want to walk around with you." Cue the synth fireworks. A good many indie-rock bands have cut quarter-life crisis discs lately - check "Boxer," by the National, or LCD Soundsystem's "Sound of Silver." The difference here is one of mode. If the dudes in the National are realists, the three friends in Animal Collective (longtime member Josh Dibb didn't make this rodeo) are abstract expressionists. Some of the phrasing on "MPP" sticks; some of it soars; most of it slips and slides through puddles of rich sonic texture. Only at a distance does the magic of the whole major-key mess become clear. (Out tomorrow) MATTHEW SHAER

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