ODDSAC review

As Dan stated in his Sonic Youth review, everyone has “that band,” or something like that. Now I have like, 3 bands, and since one’s dead (R.I.P. Elliott Smith) and the other’s sort of been quiet for a while (still waiting for LP8, Radiohead), I move onto the most active of the three, Animal Collective.

Their visual album ODDSAC (director: Danny Perez, frequent Panda Bear and Black Dice collaborator) will be released on DVD to the world tomorrow, but the movie had a screening tour across many cities in Europe and America, and I took advantage of seeing the Baltimore screening that took place at the wonderful Senator Theatre back in April.

There’s 2 ways I’m going to review this. The first is musically. I’ve always been more of an Avey Tare fan out of the main duo of the band, I like his almost child-esque voice more, and his lyrics are more abstract as opposed to Panda’s often simplistic lyrics. Nothing against Panda Bear, its just what I like. However, I noticed in this, Panda’s songwriting was stronger then ever before. In his one standout track, which features mainly him and his acoustic guitar, his melodies shine stronger then before alongside his singing about how he’d “like to stay with natural things/organic as [his] skin that peels” and other things that have usually been reserved for David Portner’s lyrics. Only about 5 of the 13 “tracks” feature singing, and all of them belong at the top of their discography. The instrumental tracks however, are a force to be reckoned with as well. It’s as if they took the pop sensibilities of Merriweather Post Pavillion and combined them with the raging, angst driven sounds of Here Comes the Indian and Danse Manatee.

Visually, the plot was about as chaotic as the music. It seemed like a series of darker skits, with the occasional recurrence (Deakin as a vampire). Certain scenes that stood out were the opening one where a woman was seemingly trying to stop a mysterious black goo from falling out of her house, whilst a tribal group who were juggling fire sticks seemed to prepare to attack her.  Also, my overall favorite was seeing Panda Bear back at his native drum set with a white wig on, as he had done for pretty much all of early Animal Collective. He set the drum set on a large rocky location, before interrupting the acoustic song sung by Avey Tare with his raging noisey pounding. The last scene was probably the most memorable, with a family of girls cooking marshmallows by the fire, before the marshmallows attack them (yes, you heard me). Then the vampire from earlier scenes comes out and attacks them before dying in the sunlight. Eventually a dance party ensues. So basically, “clusterfuck” would be the only word to describe this movie, but Animal Collective pull it off very well. Or maybe its just me being a fanboy.

-Kevin

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