Animal Collective, Water Curses

Andy Battaglia

By Andy Battaglia

on 04.22.11 in Reviews
Four songs from the Strawberry Jam sessions that represent Animal Collective’s poppiest gesture yet

Water Curses is comprised of four songs that were recorded during the sessions for Animal Collective's 2007 hallmark Strawberry Jam — though there's enough difference between the EP and the album to make it count as considerably more than just a dump of outtakes. Taken as a whole, Water Curses ranks as Animal Collective's poppiest gesture yet, with a newly apparent sense of song structure and simple hummability burrowing deep into that part of the brain where earwigs go. The opening title track finds Avey Tare flitting through melodies in dense lyrical lines that rise and fall over a carnival mix of polka drum taps and glimmers of what may or may not be real steel drums. “Street Flash” follows in a more meditative mode, with a slowed rush of sounds and a brilliantly grafted sample of a scream (or a cry or a laugh — it's hard to tell, exactly) acting as the hook. “Cobwebs” is slower still, and prettier, with a pointed lyrical refrain “We're not going underground.” The outgoing “Seal Eyeing” plays like a contemplative hymn, all but ambient in terms of energy and irrepressible in terms of tune.