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Animal Collective: Water Curses

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Animal Collective

Album: Water Curses
Label: Domino

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Since the start of their rise to the top of the art-rock underground, the beatific chums in Animal Collective have warbled, wheezed, whinged, and wowed—all in alternating currents that make each album and EP sound like a relic from an age they've already consigned to the past. It's made for an admirable custom of closing the book to start the binding on a new one, but Water Curses suggests a better practice by working as both a summation and a start. The four-track EP hints back at last year's Strawberry Jam, but the songs are more melodic and spacious—more patient in making way for whatever drifts in. The calypso-tinged title track finds Avey Tare singing double-time over air-headed drums, while "Cobwebs" and "Seal Eying" rate more as mesmeric hymns. The highlight is "Street Flash," an Avey Tare song built around a meticulously employed sample of a scream that signals either blinding terror or a thousand kinds of joy—or, better yet, both.