Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam

Listening to ‘Strawberry Jam’ is like watching a film with over half of the frames missing in random places. Everything jumps around, but if you look at it all properly, it still makes perfect sense. Even though it’s noisy, covered it skittish blips and blurs, there’s a huge amount of craft in it. ‘Peacebone’ starts with what sounds like a string of computer chips holding hands and suffering a collective stroke; ‘Chores’ is like a neo-psychedelic carnival which still somehow induces a weird unease and anxiety in the listener while the ironically named ‘#1’ is almost a minimalist experimental piece that barely resembles pop music at all. As I said before though, it works, somehow. Even though pop music itself often thrives on structure, these still work in their own weird way as pop songs… well, pop songs for the slightly mixed up. It’s a cliché to say “Gee, I wonder what drugs these guys were on”, but all the time it’s hard to think of anything else since it’s such a melting pot of teeth-grinding angrily cheerful emotions over things that make no sense.

Though ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ takes all the credit, ‘Strawberry Jam’ is my personal favourite from AC. It’s messier, yet somehow more focused. Noah Lennox can gleefully yodel one minute and shriek like a six-foot tall rabid squirrel the next while the music is free to go crazy around him. You may think “Well, that sounds like a headache.” and at first you’ll be right, but stick with it and it’s the best headache you’ll ever have.
Listen to this: running.
Key Track: For Reverend Green

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