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Animal Collective: Fall Be Kind EP

by on August 31, 2010

8.5/10

Ever since 2007, when Panda Bear released his third solo album, Person Pitch, Animal Collective has slowly changed their style. 2007’s Strawberry Jam saw songs with more structure and form than previous records, while 2009’s near-flawless Merriweather Post Pavillion brought Animal Collective into a new age. Following Person Pitch‘s use of the sampler as a main instrument, Merriweather ditched the droning guitar that has long defined Animal Collective’s sound, and instead brought in samplers and keyboards. While AC’s 2009 EP Fall Be Kind feels a little like Merriweather left-overs, it still leaves the listener with the feeling that something new has been created: something that Animal Collective have been striving for since their 2000 debut.

At only 27 minutes, this album truly covers a lot of ground. “Graze”, the album’s opener, begins dreamy Disney-esque textures, with the non-sensical lyrics that this band is known for. Suddenly, however, the song changes to a minor tonality and Panda Bear, aka Noah Lennox begins singing. With his signature crescendos and sudden fall-outs, the listener immediately feels a sense of warmth that this is a true Animal Collective album. And then the song changes again! Referencing the playfulness of “Brother Sport” from Merriweather, the harmonized flutes lead into a playful melody that lends itself perfectly to Avey Tare and Panda Bear’s harmonized vocals. This album is already good.

The next track is the highlight of the album, “What Would I Want? Sky”. A two minute and twenty second build-up leads into a gorgeous verse that relies on a sample from the Grateful Dead song “Unbroken Chain”. Suddenly the song breaks into a dramatic chorus that drowns the listener in its sparkling tones and 7/8 time signature. This track is an instant classic.

The only song which is not very interesting is “Bleed”. Despite being the shortest song on the album, it seems to go on for just a bit too long. It really has one musical idea which is not built upon very well. One reason for this track not standing out could be its lack of drums. Every other track on this features drums quite prominently. There is much more emphasis put on drums in this album than it seems in any other album in Animal Collective’s discography. “Bleed” loses this feel and thus seems to not fit in with the album.

Fall Be Kind, despite being an EP, is still a very impressive album. Although it features the synthesizers, samplers, and reverberation that made Merriweather Post Pavillion what it was, it uses interesting drum patterns to create a unique feel that no Animal Collective has matched before. Fall Be Kind is more of a cohesive unit than any of AC’s other EPs, and it is a must-have album for any fan of the group.

-Flow

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