Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Rhododendron Is A Nice Flower....

Animal Collective - 3

Screeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!! The writhing tendrils of white noise envelop and hurtle me back into my memory... I'm six years old, hiding under the vast rhododendron bushes of Claughton Hall Estate. It's high summer and the pagan vibe is everywhere (even at six and full of the Church I could feel it)... heavy flowers asking to be eaten, poisonous... leaves rocking in the sun like tiny piano filligrees...

Enough of the purple prose! If this band catches you at the right moment, you're lost. They did it to me last summer, when things were dissolving before our eyes and it seemed listening to "Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished" was the only solid thing left. We were close to living in a tent. We didn'’t own a tent. Still, as long as I had batteries for the Walkman, I knew I would survive. Totally insane.

The mangling use of treble on "Spirit" has been remarked upon in other quarters. I had already noted it's effect on dogs. Once I played the album to a friend who can take any amount of experimental nastiness, but he just couldn't listen to it. Why do that to a perfectly good pop song? Where's the balance? The boundary? There isn't one. Remember when you were a kid?

There isn't a representative track I can pull off this album to sell it to you. There are lovely ten minute numbers, flitty ones that dive about like swallows, howling instrumentals, great, evocative lyrics and the sense that, somehow, a wide eyed return to childhood is possible. Me, I don't want to go back. But to keep some of that feeling, that's important.

Now - find a space, and turn around with your arms outstretched. Make sure you're not bumping into any one else. When the music starts, imagine you are a tree, moving in the wind...

Buy - Animal Collective - Spirit They're Gone Spirit They've Vanished/Danse Manatee
Visit - Animal Collective @ Fat Cat


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