My iPod #472: Animal Collective – Graze

The Fall Be Kind EP was released in November 2009, months after the release of their critically acclaimed Merriweather Post Pavilion – an album which was virtually appreciated by everybody and seen as one of the best of the year. Fall Be Kind carried on the sample-heavy aesthetic that was established on the preceding album, and it begins with the ethereal and unpredictable “Graze”.

The track opens with sudden bursts of various wind instruments and a swelling bass that fades in and out amongst Avey Tare’s reverb-coated vocal, as he sings about, what sounds like, the processes inside our heads and what the environment seems to feel like as we wake up in the morning for the start of a new day. It is not soon after that a cello can be heard melodically weaving its way amidst the beautiful atmospheric sounds. Panda Bear then comes in to contribute a more sombre and philosophical tone with a verse concerning his thoughts about fame and being in a band as minor-key arpeggiated piano chords slowly come into the mix.

Afterwards, Avey comes back repeating the song’s first lyric “Let me begin”, the wind instruments fade out to give way to some upbeat rim-shots which signify a change in the song’s music. And what happens? Happy-go-lucky pan-flutes that sound like background music to a weird cartoony school for elves and dwarves take over. All you can do is laugh. Not because it sounds silly, though it may do on the first listen, but because it shouldn’t work in context with the rest of the song. But it just does. Amazingly. With booming drums and abrasive synthesizers Avey and Panda sing as one during the coda to bring the stellar opener to an awakening finish.

A great opener to the EP, the tracks sets the tone for the remaining twenty minutes though on its own it still leaves you wanting more. It’s quite hard not to expect “What Would I Want? Sky” to come in straight after that transition. That song is for another day.

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Author: Jamie Kyei Manteaw

An English student at Coventry University who spends most days listening to music (old and new) and reading and writing about it, however informal it may be. And studying too, obviously.

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