Animal Collective bringing Centipede Hz tour to Glasgow's O2 ABC
The album is slower-selling than Merriweather Post Pavilion, but fits better with AnCo's masterplan
Will Merriweather Post Pavilion, comfortably Animal Collective’s most commercially successful album in nine attempts to date, ultimately prove their happy accident? It pushed the American purveyors of strange, soupy, experimental neo-psychedelia onto the Billboard Top 20 and the verge of an unlikely mainstream infiltration. And yet, despite positive reviews, sales of follow-up Centipede Hz have been very slow by comparison.
An altogether harsher listen than its blissed-out, upbeat and relatively accessible predecessor, it’s a grower that makes substantial demands of the patient listener but pays off in transcendent style – which is to say, normal AnCo service has been resumed. Let’s not forget this quartet of Baltimore former schoolfriends’ historically wildly eclectic and cacophonous approach to noisemaking – its early sound was received by one record label with the words: ‘This music makes our dogs run out of the room!’
Certain elements of Centipede Hz suggest a deliberate harkening back to pre-Merriweather traditions – the return of guitarist Deakin for the first time since 2007, for instance, and working out of a rehearsal space just blocks from where they grew up. Listen hard enough and at the heart of Centipede Hz are some straightforward verse/chorus tunes – albeit buried beneath layers of discordant noise, chattering voices and radio static. It feels like an endeavour to fold the more ‘songs’-based format, developed since 2007’s Strawberry Jam, back into a sensory, cerebral and plainly arty aesthetic. Viewed in relation to recent projects such as a retina-scorching ‘visual album’ ODDSAC and a ‘kinetic’ live installation at the Guggenheim, Centipede Hz probably fits more with AnCo’s weird grand design than Merriweather ever did.
O2 ABC, Glasgow, Wed 7 Nov.