8 / 10 In a world where artists write songs about America called ‘America’, Animal Collective are a cause for celebration. This is the Baltimore pop experimentalists’ eighth album and it’s as idiosyncratic and tinged with goofiness as one might expect for a band with members called Panda Bear and Geologist. Accurately defining AC’s sound would require a Texas-sized sheet of paper, but at any one point it falls somewhere between the life-affirming melodies of The Flaming Lips, the dippy trippiness of Mercury Rev and 1970s prog electronica. ‘Fireworks’ chuffs along at steam-train pace through a smoke of delicious reverb, cavernous echo, seagulls, zithers and rambling lyrics. Bowie and Eno influence the woozy astral interlude ‘#1’ and by the closer, the twisted campfire singalong ‘Derek’, you are convinced if Brian Wilson could anoint a successor, Animal Collective are in with a shout.
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