Animal Collective

11/09/2005 12:00 AM |

The Animal Collective’s follow-up to the highly acclaimed Sung Tongs has been dubbed more straightforward, more traditionally “indie” than its predecessor, a tag that’s particularly true of the new disc’s first two tracks. Feels opens with a barrage of guitar- and drum-fueled campfire-twee songs, building on older songs like ‘Who Could Win a Rabbit?’ and ‘We Tigers.’ As a whole, the record isn’t immediately rewarding, but as soon as you start to understand how the masked-wonders operate, the relentlessly screamed choruses and sudden eruptions of unforeseen chord changes become far more enjoyable than unsettling. There are drawbacks, though, with songs like ‘Flesh Canoe’ and ‘Bees’ coming off like misguided experiments in soundscaping rather than songwriting, and consequently tend to drag a little. They’re interesting enough — and are better than many other bands’ attempts at a similar style — but they come nowhere near the shriek-inducing ecstasy of ‘Did You See the Words?’ or ‘Banshee Beat.’