Animal Collective (Re-Review)
Feels - FATCAT
FILTER Grade: 87% / Re-Review: 88%
By Staff on June 23, 2011
We're not perfect and, let's face it, sometimes hindsight is truly 20/20. It's with that spirit that we approach the FILTER Re-Review, a second chance for us to evaluate our opiniony opinions on records from past FILTER magazines. How does the record hold up now that we've had years to contemplate and listen? What would we give the record if it was coming out in the next issue? FILTER's editorial staff sat down to scratch their heads on a few releases and present to you: The Re-Review.
What are some records you think we did wrong? Leave 'em in the comments and we might just give them a second look.
Then, We Said:
After twilight sing-alongs with folkie sprite Vashti Bunyan on the Prospect Hummer EP earlier this year, the Animal Collective have ditched the campfire and made for the deep woods again. Picking up the acoustic guitars that jangled and droned on 2004's Sung Tongs, the creature quartet plugs in and freaks out. It's cosmic Americana as once charted by Mercury Rev in the druggier days of Yerself Is Steam and Boces. Coursing with frittered electricity, Feels is a lysergic tangle of morphing strums and yippie chanting set to a schizoid metronome. The absent adjective in the album's title attests to its diversity—over it's nine tracks there are all kinds of feels: cold fronts worthy of Northern England, the dank humidity of ancient opium dens, crackling autumn crispness and even slivers of warping Tropical(ist) sunshine. Often the climate changes in a single, journeying song. But no matter the conditions, this untamed menagerieadapts perfectly. BERNARDO RONDEAU
Now, We're Like:
Original Rating: 87%
Original Review Said: "Coursing with frittered electricity, Feels is a lysergic tangle of morphing strums and yippie chanting set to a schizoid metronome."
Are We Still Listening?: Well, Did You See the Words?
Reputation: In many ways, 2004's Sung Tongs and 2005's Feels seem like companion albums to one another. Both pave some serious way for what would become Animal Collective's more accessible (albeit, still alarmingly bizarre and experimental) material—2007's Strawberry Jam and the career-landmark 2009's Merriweather Post Pavilion. Out of the two in the middle of their catalog, Feels is the more energetic and less patient twin. You can hear those patterns that would bloom more coherently on later LPs, but listening to this record six years after its initial mark is a worthy study of a young(ish) band working toward their own abilities. (And where we view them now, they may be limitless.) On tracks like "The Purple Bottle," the lyrics tell of romance young and flirtatious, miles from the domestic love of Merriweather's "My Girls"; it's unsure of the next move, stricken dumb with all the optimism of the future in front of it. Mood setting Feels certainly is, and for devotees of the modern Animal Collective, the middle-catalog is a strange and worthy trip back.
Re-Review Rating: 88%—for nostalgia's sake and hindsight, we're bumping this up a point.