By John Samuel Mecum
Animal Collective’s new release “The Painters,” is a synth and sample-saturated four song EP of tracks mostly recorded during their last album, released in February of 2016, titled “Painting With.” Just as they have with their releases in previous years, Animal Collective released an EP to follow up and accompany the full-length studio release. With a lineup change, a Motown cover, and even entertaining the idea of choosing a new group name, Animal Collective are looking for ways to find ways to reinvent themselves and remain unpredictable to listeners.
The EP opens with the first single, “Kinda Bonkers”, a song that carries a tribal rhythm with absurd lyrics and repeats mantra of transcendence with the phrase, “Unity of all kinds, unity of all kinds.” The second track “Peacemaker,” the slowest of the four, features a melody that bounces back and forth from vocalists Panda Bear and Avey Tare. Its hypnotizing qualities when listened to in stereo make this one special. “Goalkeeper” isn’t a metaphor. It is a short song about the pressures and struggles of playing that position in the sport. The synth bounce and belch that comes at the listener from all angles keeps your attention and makes you focus less on the lyrics which fade into the background. The final track “Jimmy Mack” is a cover of a 60s song by Martha & the Vandellas. The song is fun and enjoyable for what it is, however it does detract from some of the experience as it doesn’t quite fit the tone of the previous songs and lacks saturation of sound that gets the listener invested to begin with.
Change can be manic and overwhelming at times. Animal Collectives’ “The Painters EP” feels like the sound of transformation. There is always a certain fear and excitement that comes along with change and perhaps with their next release, we will see the result of that transformation into something really special.