On the subject of Animal Collective...

Music and social grouping is funny - the thing meant to unite is also a seperator and deflector.

It seems Animal Collective has become one of those bands that can end a friendship. Not because someone doesn't 'get it' (though this may be the cause albeit, not severe enough to split friends) but, because they just don't dig it.

I'll say it - Animal Collective is not the sonic-sculpting power house that along with the disciples (who could convince you Panda Bear, Geologist, Deakin and Avey Tare were at the Last Supper), everyone whose heard 'Summertime Clothes' twice make them out to be. Merriweather Post Pavillion (agreeably their most accessible release) is not a Pet Sounds or Loveless type album though it may sport lush, woozy Beach Boy melodies.

Understand this isn't an attack on AC as a whole or individually. I just think that the avant-garde tag gets thrown around as much as the ill-fated 'indie' label. And, the projected greatness on a band that isn't 'great' kills it.

Nonetheless, Noah Lennox, Brian Weitz, Josh Dibb and David Portner are excellent at what they do. Perfect looping and sampling is a fucking art and these dudes can do it live while dropping the jaws of several Phish fans on a jam-band stage with nary a 'traditional' instrument in sight. In a sense, this band is too gifted not to stray from the sampler more - 'Fireworks' off the Water Curses EP should be evidence enough - particularly the live version.

Animal Collective is a band that at times, I feel guilty for not liking more but as I said, I think that feeling stems from the projections and faux-confidence of (mainly) two-track fans to try and 'fit-in' by not fitting-in to fit-in.

Again, I don't dislike AC. Quite the contrary, I actually have and actively spin the entire discography including Merriweather Post Pavilion which I have listened to several times - a perfect album for the 95+ degree days of an LA summer.

I look forward to this band's future - specifically Mr. Lennox (Panda Bear). His most recent solo offering was 2007's stellar Person Pitch which was sensational and well-deserving of a spot on many reviewers end of year lists. As well, the new Atlas Sound single 'Walkabout' featuring Lennox is a garage-pop tease that only makes me excited for the the Logos release in October and Panda Bear's next album.

VIDEO: Animal Collective - 'Fireworks'