I've got no problem with art for art's sake. What I don't believe in is liking art for liking art's sake, if that makes any sense. Anyway, this has to do with the overheapings of praise for Brooklyn/Baltimore band Animal Collective. Yeah, I get it - they like samples, they like long takes, they like experimental music. Now critics feel it necessary to preempt their proper place in music history as innovators as if they'll only be remembered for it in the future - a la Captain Beefheart's Trout Mask Replica. 2009's Merriweather Post Pavillion is the band's most commercial work so far, and even if I don't think it's a great album by far, they're definitely warming up on me. My Girls is still a great single - it goes to show that when they find a groovy melody, they can win new hearts.
Their recent EP Fall Be Kind is another move in the right direction. The second track, What Would I Want? Sky uses (if you haven't heard already) the first legal sample of a Grateful Dead tune - Unbroken Chain from Mars Hotel. The song ascends like a psychedelic rocketship, blasting off and once it breaks through the dreamy stratosphere, kicks in with Phil Lesh crooning in the background, with Avey Tare's vocals intertwining just perfectly. It rides on its confidence. The Dead should be proud. -- PC