In 2009 Animal Collective left the indie world in awe after the release of their critically acclaimed and highly praised master piece Merriweather Post Pavilion. For three years fans have anticipated the return of the band and their fond approach to music. During this time span the band has kept busy by headlining a memorable show at Coachella in 2011 as well as embracing the return of their fourth member and guitarist Josh Dibb (also known as Deakin) after he had taken a hiatus from the band. Suddenly, it had seemed that things had begun to come together for the 2012 release of Centipede Hz. As the indie world eagerly awaited once more, how would this Animal Collective record follow up to Merriweather standards?
Perhaps the answer lies in a more complicated manner. You see, it is very possible that Animal Collective set a new standard for neo-psychedelic music back in 2009. With Dibb gone the main instrumentation for the album was an electronic sampler. The move was a huge success while it also dialed down the feel of the music. With the change in sound, Merriweather almost felt like a lo-fi indie rock record. Here lies the biggest difference between what listeners will be expecting and what Animal Collective has crafted with Centipede Hz.
The album opens up with a bang with the aggressive track “Moonjock” followed directly by the lead single, “Today’s Supernatural.” Right away, it can be sensed that Animal Collective returns to the roots of experimental music notable in 2007’s Strawberry Jam and 2005’s Feels. Obviously the return of Dibb makes the difference but from the start, both songs are dynamic and high octane. A theme that continues into the album. Other songs like “Rosie Oh” and “Father Time” are not as “in your face” as other tracks but the experimental aspect is still noticeable. Another interesting addition to the album are radio commercials and frequencies as well as station identification announcements in between songs. This almost feels as some sort of social commentary on 21st century technology and communication through mockery, while still adding to the overall feel of the album.
Even if Centipede Hz might not live up to Merriweather Post Pavilion’s standards, it is still one of the band’s best works. The jumbled clutter of the album takes the listener through an awesome ride into the minds of four guys from Baltimore. A very trippy ride. Centipede Hz might not be as remembered as other albums in 2012 but the most important thing to remember is that this still remains an Animal Collective record. Whether through their music or performances, they rarely ever disappoint. 3.5/5
By: KRUA Music Manager Felipe Godoy