Water Curses Review
This is a look into the new ep. If you want to wait for until its proper release and don't want any "spoilers", then be warned, as I'm going to examine each of the four songs. Much like last year's [i]Strawberry Jam[/i], this small collection of songs are awesomely titled. [i]Water Curses[/i] is a great name, and if you know Animal Collective, you'll instantly understand this. The name [i]Strawberry Jam[/i] just fits AC so well, and particularly that stage of their journey as musicians. I can't really put into words why, but just everything about the name is perfect. The same applies to [i]Water Curses[/i]. The songs here are pretty much the leftovers of SJ, except for one of the four, which was recorded recently. Overall, the epis a much slower and more relaxed collection of songs than SJ, and I'd argue it's more like the older stuff. A lot of people have drawn connections to it and their work between 2004 and early 2006. But it's definitely still audible that the work here was created in the SJ era, as many of the same qualities are evident. The opener, titled "Water Curses" starts with an octave note of what could be a manipulated guitar or a synthesizer. It bends and grumbles with a crackling/bubbling sample and eventually bursts into the first verse with a melodic synthesizer (which could be a continuation of the sound that started the song) and excited percussion. Avey's voice sounds a little different from what it normally sounds like. It sounds more hushed. The verse boasts an interesting twist in the melody of his vocals. Samples blurt on and off throughout the song to add to the atmosphere. The chorus is a playful up-and-down melody with a high-pitched synth that sounds like it's straight from a circus. Overall, the song took a while to love, but I eventually got there. It's by far the fastest song and also the loudest on this ep. "Street Flash" was played live a lot during their recent tour. It's a definite shift toward mellowness and near-minimalism away from the first track, and it spans nearly seven minutes, making it the longest track on the ep. A very simple, delayed triad guitar chord ascends and drops again to the first chord, and Avey's jumps in with "Does anyone in here get hit with inside fever, so bad sometimes you talk to move around..." There are a slew of typically-AC-perfect-fit samples and effectified vocals that make the song an AC song. The one that I like best is the manic laugh, that at first doesn't sound like a voice at all, but rather like an old screechy door opening. There is a high-pitched note repeated on what sounds like a warped piano. And then there's the "Waaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhh" scream that lasts for at least 5 seconds. That one's nice too. It's a nice song to listen to. It's kind of lullaby-like melodically, with beautifully sustained vocals, and even instrumentally, at some points. Quirky percussive elements and a briefly crescendoing organ start off "Cobwebs". After a little bit of the first verse, rim shots jump in and the song starts to pick up. Panda's always-beautiful backup vocals support the song and it eventually reaches it's most prominent line: "We're not going underground". Then an ambient pad with little subtleties hidden within that combine to form a wall of sound break off the previous tempo, and a cathartic burst of the word "Cobwebs" repeats a few times. In between the shouts, there's a little vocal line, backed by an electronic string-instrument that vibrates harshly. The song trails off, back to the previous sound, with subtle background vocals and sounds, which eventually are greeted by the flowing piano that introduces the next song. "Seal Eyeing" is the ep's last song, and it continues the album's mostly mellow tone. It feels like you're underwater and half asleep. The piano seems delayed, but I think it's manually delayed, as each subsequent repetition of the piano notes don't always match the previous notes. The song creeps along and it feels like you're moving but not really, or that the things underwater around are moving, but not going anywhere. They always remain in sight. It is as if you are in a fish bowl, limited somehow in dimension, but you're not completely sure of this because you are so small in this underwater world. It feels like a song of reflection, of contemplation, where you are thinking deeply about something, but when asking yourself what it was about, you draw a blank. It's a nice little ep. It's nothing monumental, but it is perfectly timed, as all of us AC fans have been craving material since SJ. I cannot wait to see what the guys do next, but I know they won't let us down. Out.