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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Animal Collective – Campfire Songs (reissue) – EP Review

Campfire Songs Harkens Back To A Simpler Time, In Animal Collective's History

Written by Andy Devine

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After recently going out of print on the Catsup label Paw Tracks have decided to re-issue Animal Collective‘s Campfire Songs EP. Apparently it’s not an album to listen to when sat around the campfire telling stories. Instead the songs contained on the disc are actually about the fire itself. So far so interesting.

Anyone who is familiar with Animal Collective’s recent output will know that they make music which is at once poppy and difficult. Last year’s Merriweather Post Pavilion had as many detractors as it did people praising it as album of the year, in January! The tracks varied from the personal, My Girls, and Brother Sport (which are about Noah Lennox’s, a.k.a Panda Bear wife and daughters and trying to get his brother to open up about their fathers death respectivley) to the more fun loving, Summertime Clothes, and Lion In A Coma.

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Campfire Songs is as far removed from the sound of MPP or Strawberry Jam as it is possible to get. It almost sounds like a completely different band, except for Noah’s plaintive vocals. There are no drums, no synths, and certainly no big sounds. It’s just acoustic guitars being gently strummed while Noah breathily sing/chants over the top .

The album was recorded outside, on a porch, on mini-disc which allows the sounds of nature to be heard and adds a layer to the idea of making music from the elements. It’s an interesting experiment and certainly shows that Animal Collective have never been afraid to experiment. It also shows the bands development from their more noisy/acoustic sound to the electronic juggernauts that they have become.

It’s an album that I would certainly have on in the background while I was doing something else but I don’t think I’d want to sit down and actively listen to it. It seems that even amongst their fans, of which I consider myself a fairly big one, they can still be a divisive band. Something which I think is important as they aren’t trying to please anyone but themselves with their sonic experimentation.

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