It’s already July 10th, but I’m still thinking about “Fireworks”. This new Animal Collective song is one of the standout tracks off an album seemingly made up completely of standout tracks. Bittersweet melodies cascade over intricate, layered rhythms and the resulting pop-centered surrealism is simply beautiful. Much like “Comfy in Nautica” or “Take Pills” from Panda Bear’s Person Pitch, “Fireworks” reflects the growing presence of the specter of Brian Wilson in their music. Yet, they appear to be mirroring him in more ways than one — while a more direct influence is discernible on the new album, they are also pushing pop music to its boundaries (and beyond), much like he did.
For those who haven’t gotten their hands on it yet (or choose not to), Strawberry Jam is an immensely satisfying work of truly odd and expansive pop. It may find Animal Collective at their most accessible, but they don’t sacrifice any integrity or complexity to get there. Between Person Pitch and Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective seems to be claiming the year in music as its very own. I’d wager you’ll be seeing both albums on many a year-end list — they’ll certainly be on mine.
Download: Animal Collective – Fireworks
Buy: You can’t pre-order Strawberry Jam just yet, but keep your eyes out for “Peacebone”, the first single, which is set to be released on August 21st.