Here Comes the Indian – Animal Collective

Here Comes the Indian

Animal Collective

2003

Paw Tracks

We’ve been too nice to bands on here recently.  Why should we review only albums that we like? (Rhetorical question, I’m sure I can think of a bunch of reasons).  So, with that idea in mind, I’m going to review Animal Collective’s album Here Comes the Indian.  I’m doing this solely because I just heard it, it’s fresh in my mind, and I never ever want to listen to it again.

You see, normally I would go through each track telling you, the reader who I really appreciate, what works and what doesn’t work.  I’ll tell you what sounds really awesome and what could use work, I’ll let you know what I perceive to be the mood or the theme, and even how I feel towards each track.  But I’m not going to today.  Because that would mean I’d have to listen to this album again.  Once is enough.

Honestly, I’ve tried to get into to Animal Collective.  Really, I have.  Some of my friends like them, every indie critic ever is in love with them, and they’re becoming more and more popular, no matter how depressing that is.  So I really have tried.  I listened to Sung Tongs twice.  After the second time around, I hated them.  I hate them with a passion.  I’d rather listen to anything else before Animal Collective again (Ok, not true.  I would not listen to Nickelback.  But, that’s it.)

And so, today my random rotation of cd’s (yes, I am currently listening to every cd that I own, chosen randomly) forced me to listen to Here Comes the Indian.  I can sum up my experience with one sentence: listening to Animal Collective causes me physical pain.  Most of the songs, and there’s only seven, started with me going, “Ow, goddamn headache” and ended with me saying, “My eye is twitching.  Why is my eye twitching?  And how can a person even have a headache in their eye?”

Before I get to reviewing some of the songs, I have a few queries.  Why are they so popular?  Why do the critics love Animal Collective?  And why will any mention of this band send employees of Pitchfork into a frenzy that I assume ends with a massive orgy? 

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I really am confused as to why people like Animal Collective so much.  This album, at least, I found horrible.  Every instrument, with the exception of drums (at most times) is drenched with effects that don’t sound good together.  Barely any track features a discernable rhythm.  The lyrics don’t matter as the vocals are completely lost in their own world.  And nothing fits together.  Each instrument or musician or whatever is playing their own thing in their own time without paying any attention to what else is going on.

The opening track “Native Belle” is the only track that resembles a thought-out song.  It’s the only track where some of what is going on actually integrates with each other.  That being said, it is my favorite track on here – which means absolutely nothing except that it’s the only track that didn’t give me a headache.

This is followed by “Hey Light.”  The best thing about “Hey Light” is that it actually made me laugh.  Out of nowhere, the band starts screaming.  And I’m not sure why I burst out laughing.  It might have been because I was already going crazy listening to the album, or because Animal Collective is so bat-shit insane that they all agreed it was a good idea to start screaming just when the song sounds like it’s going somewhere (Which is a point I’ll bring up again a little further down).  Either way, it was the second least-worse on the album.

The only other song I will bring up is “Two Sails on a Sound.”  Here’s how you’ll know if you’ll like Animal Collective.  Do you like really annoying high-pitched sounds? If the only melodic instrument you heard was a piano playing, at most, three notes and in the background very faintly, would you want to listen to the song?  Do you enjoy gibberish vocals that are plagued with feedback effects?  Do you like all of these things being mashed together?  Lastly, would you enjoy those three things for twelve minutes and twenty-one seconds?  Because if you do, then you’ll love this song.  That’s ALL it is.  Honestly, if I placed four autistic monkeys in a room for three days, I bet they’d make a twelve minutes song more interesting than this.

The worst part about this album: there’s nothing to grab on to.  You can think, “Listen! I hear drums!”  but you’ll soon think, “Wait, the drums aren’t supporting anything… they barely have a beat… and everything else doesn’t make sense with them there…”  You can think, “Hey! The song seems to be moving coherently for now- wait, nope, must’ve been a fluke.”  The reason why the songs don’t feel like they go anywhere is because they don’t start anywhere.  It’s random gibberish without any context.  The album is out of context. 

Really, I’d like Animal Collective (and I have to say that I don’t know any of their new stuff.  I’ve heard one song from their latest album Merriweather Post Pavillion, the decent “Summertime Clothes,” but I’m so rageful (which is a word I just made up to describe my anger towards this band) against them that I refuse to listen to anything else if I don’t have to) if they didn’t overdo it.  Some of the effects they use would be really cool if there was a song to go with it, but there isn’t.  This album (and Sung Tongs I might add) just feel like a collection of effects that randomly creates noise.  So, if they just sat down and wrote a coherent song (and I’m not saying lyrics or anything.  They can write whole instrumentals and I wouldn’t care), just something that makes sense, I’d probably like them.

But I can’t tell if Animal Collective are serious.  They make an album of noise and effects.  They call themselves by the names “Avey Tare,” “Geologist,” “Deakin,” and “Panda Bear.”  Maybe they are serious.  Maybe they’re “a bunch of squirrels on acid.”  I don’t honestly know.  What I do know is that I never want to listen to this album again.  Maybe if someone can tell me why people think they’re geniuses I’ll be able to understand.  But until then, I’m sticking with Jeph Jacques theory (ok, ok, I’ll admit.  The only reason I wrote this review was so that I could link to Questionable Content – my favorite Webcomic.  It really is amazing!  You should go read it!) (Also, it should be noted, Jeph Jacques actually likes Animal Collective).  And if the only good things I can say about an album are “this track kind of resembles a song” and “I laughed at this song because of random screams” there has to be something wrong.

Buy This Album

Official Site

Last.fm Page

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One Response to “Here Comes the Indian – Animal Collective”

  1. […] Having said that, I do like a few of their songs. “Grass” has 4 stars in my iTunes library, and “My Girls” & “Summertime Clothes” have 3. But all the rest ranges from 1/5 to 2/5, meaning “terrible”. That music is simply un-listenable, no matter how many times I listened to it. I did try to get into it because I thought I was actually missing something. But I don’t think I’m missing anything. It’s just annoying noise, from a band that the idiots at Pitchfork (both the editors and their readers) have made-up and idolized. Apparently, there are a lot of other people online who have expressed the same dismay as I have: the best write-up is this one, and here are a few more: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. […]

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