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Animal Collective's "Painting With" - A First Listen

We knew this day was approaching, waiting with high anticipation and happy ears that couldn't wait for Animal Collective's tenth studio album, Painting With. Let's make this journey together. We're going to press play and give you our first thoughts on the album. (If you're looking to cut to the chase, scroll to the botttom)

Begin journey...




They would start the album on this note. To remind us that they're still just as Animal Collective as they ever were. Aquatic, bubbling production carries the track as, in signature AC fashion, layers of melodies and harmonies pour through the speaker and produce the most joyful, psychedelic song we've heard all day. This track was released as a single to preview the album, followed with a music video that pairs with the hypnotic music perfectly (disclaimer: if you have epilepsy, this isn't for you...)

RELATED: Animal Collective Share Obscure “FloriDada” Video


"Hocus Pocus"

Boom. Percussion that carries the song like a steady walk. Spacey, water-drenched sounds carry over into this track as well (and we're certain this would be so much fun to sing with friends if you learned all the parts) -- We lowkey feel like we're playing some sort of intergalactic video game, as the rippling, warped voices ring through our ears. Yes. This could only get better.


They've really mastered the art of layering sounds that aren't necessarily meant to be paired, yet come together and work harmoniously in a really practical fashion. "Vertical" is reminiscent of the indie tinges that AC are masters at. Absolutely pleasant. Wake up to this song.

"Lying in the Grass"

This track was also a single to preview Painting With -- (is it just us, or is it strangely sexual?) Anyways... It's certainly a quirkly song, with alien-esque production and differing voices hopping around the room. Soon the claps and instrumentation break through (check out that sax!), painting a clear picture of the aesthetic AC possess. Not a stand out track, but a solid one nonetheless.




"The Burglars"

With every passing song, we're reminded of their brilliance in songwriting. Even if you can't catch what they're saying, we can promise it's intelligently thought out. The guys reminisce of their younger days, skimming over lessons that they've picked up and then applied to their music. "The Burglars" is a boppy track with fast-paced lyricism. Cool to listen to, not a stand out.

"Natural Selection"

Following "The Burglars," this song effortlessly bleeds into the production seamlessly, blending the two tracks to make a singular, uninterrupted audial experience. It's certainly a future-pop sound, hearing oscillating melodies and repetition in words. Not so bad for a brief, mid-album song.

"Bagels in Kiev"

Whoa -- this is different. Rather than starting this track with extraterrestrial blee-bloops, a funky bass peaks in with ambient, glistening fillers to introduce AC's vocals back into the equation. Bells jingle and the track as a whole is really fun and shimmering. This is a stand out. We're dancing.

"On Delay"

This is signature AC -- "On Delay" could have been placed on an old project. The timeless sound they're so good at is what made us fall in love with them, and this track falls right into place. It's happy-go-lucky and beautifully arranged (the scales make us feel like we're on a merry-go-round)...

"Spilling Guts"

"Spilling Guts" -- we can already visualize a video for this... One of our favorite aspects about AC is their ability to set a scene for what they're channeling. There's always a setting, always a subject... They keep it short with this one, and it makes for a pretty decent interlude-like track.

"Summing the Wretch"

Dizzying vocals. TONS of layers. Back and fourth, back and fourth -- Hypnotic, really. Definitely a fun toe-tapper (if you have a strong sense of rhythm, that is) -- the basis of this lies within their singing performance. What an outstanding group of voices to pair together. Maybe they should start a band 😉

"Golden Gal"

This was released last week, as the last single to prepare for Painting With. And, undoubtedly, is one of our favorites. Picture a very happy place -- this track will take you there (and the music video portrays a very similar setting)





In a four minute journey to close this project, AC have ended on a strong note. "Recycling" makes you feel bendy and jolly, amping up your satisfaction. It's rather impressively produced -- instrument arrangement is pristine with a whole array of sounds that are eclectic, electric, innovative...


So -- there you have it.

As a whole, this is a bubbly, celestial, dream-pop album with a slight lack of diversity and variety. Though their signature sound is a wonderful one, the dynamic throughout all 12 tracks is limited. Given this, a handful of stand outs are fantastic and we're delighted to have new Animal Collective material. Their sheer ability to produce a full project with such attentiveness, creativity and apparent focus on detail is what makes this band so legendary. It's hard to touch their expressive artistry, and Painting With is a great representation of such. We're quite pleased with the results... Time to start it over! Thanks, AC!

Written by GrooveVolt