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|Audio CD, EP, May 6, 2008||
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Features four previously unreleased tracks; two are from the Wavelab Studio sessions that produced the critically acclaimed album "Strawberry Jam." All tracks show the band propelling forward on their mad genius trajectory. Look for them playing Coachella in April, the Pitchfork Festival in July, and All Points West in August.
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The songs themselves are pleasantly diverse. "Water Curses" is a classic sugar high Animal Collective singalong in the grand tradition of "Who Could Win a Rabbit?" or "Grass", complete with hyper-speed Avey Tare lyrics and odd rhythms.
"Street Flash" is a longer, more minimal song dominated by soft processed piano chords echoing in rhythm. The song seems content to just hang there in its blissed out sunshine space for its 6 minute duration, but Panda Bear's lyrics and vocal melody are beautiful. When I first heard the piercing scream that punctuates the end of many of the lines, I thought it didn't fit, but now it belongs in some strange way. Panda Bear sings of 'inside fever', something we've all experienced... The song ends, "and what were all those troubles on my mind? Oh, I took a walk..." Classic Animal Collective optimism. Experimental music so often falls on the darker end of the spectrum, it's nice to see this sort of feeling in a group who sounds like this.
"Cobwebs" is the most ambitious song on the album, progressing through a series of sections and ending with a dramatic wall of noise we haven't heard the likes of which since "Feels".
"Seal Eyeing" is one of the most relaxing, beautiful songs I know of. Three minutes of dreamy piano and Panda crooning "swim in sunshine..."
In conclusion, this is a great little EP. Psychedelic pop of the highest order, and their most accessible release aside from their newest "Merriweather Post Pavilion". If these are really "Strawberry Jam", they're better than many of the tracks from that album. 5 stars.
Really, Water Curses might be one of my favorite EPs of all time, to compete only with other Animal Collective EPs. Where other bands make EPs feel like throwaways, Animal Collective makes them feel like complete albums. I love every song on this record and love owning it on vinyl. It's just awesome okay.
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