The garish, densely layered cover art for Animal Collective’s latest album, Centipede Hz,
is just the first sign that the Baltimore-bred Psych Pop crew was
intent on shifting creative gears this time out. The anticipated
follow-up to 2009’s melody-infested Merriweather Post Pavilion —
which topped seemingly every year-ending poll on the planet, including
Pazz & Jop’s and Pitchfork’s — seems intent on moving beyond its
predecessor’s sunnier disposition from the get-go. The curiously titled
“Moonjock” kicks things off in jarring fashion, employing a collision of
sounds that recalls the band’s experimental beginnings — cymbals crash
and organs thrash with a force largely foreign to the more spaced-out
charms of MPP.
The quartet gallops through 10 more proudly unkempt tunes,
highlighted by “Today’s Supernatural,” which sounds like Stereolab on
fast-forward and bad acid; “Father Time,” a groggy head-trip that brings
to mind Jane’s Addiction if Dave Navarro had channeled Gary Numan
instead of Jimi Hendrix; and the Reggae-inflected “Rosie Oh,” one of the
few instances of Centipede slowing down to enjoy its often disorienting wake.
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE performs Tuesday, March 12 with Dan Deacon at Madison Theater in Covington.