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Animal Collective: Here Comes The Indian

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Following similar communal lines along slightly different paths, the artists in New York's burgeoning avant-noise scene make interesting components to the slew of post-punk avatars that can much more easily be called "rock" bands. Black Dice led the charge with its dark-ambient signpost Beaches & Canyons, but Animal Collective, a typically amorphous group helmed by two sonic journeymen named Avey Tare and Panda Bear, has lurked even further beneath the radar over the past few years. The duo has overseen a few barely distributed releases since 2000's Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished, but its downtown cachet has grown enough for Animal Collective to pack notable clubs and even show up on Arto Lindsay's last album. The group's career plan has remained as nebulous as its music, but with Here Comes The Indian, Animal Collective has come up to sample some above-ground air. Stretching ideas of what connotes organic and synthetic, the album slinks through swaths of vocals, guitar, drums, and ingenious electronics, all heavily processed and mixed thick with mystery. "Native Belle" opens with a vocal cap-tip to bookish '60s song-cycle man Van Dyke Parks, before "Hey Light" unfolds through a spread of drum bash, murky guitar jangle, and frantic screams laced with electronic sunspots. Forever changing and restless beyond bounds, Indian trades on movements rather than songs, with tangles of noisy bristle and harmonic mantra moans rising and fading in a foggy, proggy haze. Animal Collective drapes its wandering moods in an aesthetic that evokes the eerie post-human naturism of Andrei Tarkovsky's film Stalker, in which earthy visions of mossy rocks and trickling streams take on the appearance of a wholly different planet.