Animal Collective, Spirit They’re Gone, Spirit They’ve Vanished

Andy Beta

By Andy Beta

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Spirit They\'re Gone, Spirit They\'ve Vanished

The Animal Collective

The album that started it all. Originally credited to its two songwriting principles, Avey Tare and Panda Bear (though Tare wrote all the songs and Bear is relegated to the drums), Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished, is shockingly assured and mature, childlike and wide-eyed, dense and multi-layered. The songwriting is expansive and surrealistic, earning apt comparisons to everyone from Pink Floyd to Incredible String Band. Winsome, tricky, yet also nightmarish and on-edge, tucked inside of songs like "Chocolate Girl," "April and the Phantom," and "Penny Dreadfuls" are the sonic seeds of the group's future efforts. The keening vocal melodies and hypnotic rhythms that inform all subsequent dialogues between Tare and Bear are here, in a remarkably fresh-faced form that they never quite managed elsewhere in their long discography.