Review - Spirit They've Gone, Spirit They've Vanished/Danse & Manatee

Artist: Animal Collective

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Before retro became new via nostalgic bands, such as Belle and Sebastian's harkening to classic eras, independent music was a meeting for art-damaged folks daring to play in ways that just aren't right. It's the later philosophy that drives Animal Collective's tribal and often primitive ditties. The Animals erase fundamental concepts such as cohesion and melody, similar to The Flaming Lips' erasure of talent, and Pavement's dismantling of thumping bass to kicking treble. Animal Collective's path disengages sounds in a two-piece of electronics and whatever is lying around, and it's both as accessible and cute as a teddy bear. It works, but it was more effective on their more recent "Here Comes the Indian" than it is on this reissue of two early efforts. These two CDs are full of great ideas that were hastily rehearsed before recording. New York's least-hyped band is one of that city's best, but it's clear that they do their best work when they've put a little effort into it.

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