Painting With is experimental psych band Animal Collective’s tenth studio LP. This
time with a line up that includes Avey Tare(David Portner), Panda
Bear (Noah Lennox), and Geologist (Brian Weitz), Deakin (Josh Dibb) sat
this one out recording his own solo album. I’ve been a big fan of the
band for awhile, enjoying listening to the evolution of their sound in albums like Strawberry Jam and Merriweather Post Pavilion. Though I’d dug their previous effort Centipede Hz,
it was a little cluttered musically and ultimately didn’t hold up to previous efforts from the band. Still, I’m always excited for a new Animal Collective release because they’re a band forever growing,
expanding and looking to find something new but still feels true to
There are influences and flaws in execution on Painting With
that keep that album from impressing the way Animal Collective have in
the past. Avey Tare and Panda generally the two main songwriters and
vocal performers in the group and much like on Centipede Hz Avey
dominates this album in both songwriting and performance. The best songs on the album are the ones that he wrote
or his vocals take the lead. He brings a level of energy and charisma
to songs that’s just winning. Noah Lennox, on the other hand, feels like
he’s a songwriting slump and his performances don’t feel nearly as
urgent. This is somewhat carried over from Panda Bear’s solo album Panda
Bear Meets The Grim Reaper a project I thought was okay but had tracks that tended to stagnate structurally. This shows up here on tracks like “Spilling Guts” and “Summing The Wretch”
where Panda’s vocals has a sort of a choppy staccato delivery and the
tracks are generally linear and they really don’t add much to the album.
I often look for Panda bring a level of melody and pop sensibility to
counterbalance Avey’s vocal eccentricities and I don’t feel it’s here.
All and all, Painting With
is a good album but by Animal Collective standards? It’s probably their worst album in over a decade. An Animal Collective is always a sonic journey and Painting With presents cool sounds but they just never take me
anywhere, not this time.
But you never know what the next album will bring
with Animal Collective, so I’ll no doubt be interested in what they do
Another wonderful morning in the Portner household. Kria is humming Sasong as she is putting together the finishing touches on her beautiful garden. Dave has just woke up from a long night, now showered and refreshed sitting on his favorite chair reading the daily news. He is stressed about the Animal Collective tour coming up, but is relaxed and comforted as he looks up at his gorgeous wife, who is always there to support him and fulfill his needs. Kria senses his stare and gives a darling smile at her husband, thinking how lucky she is to have him. They keep their gaze and grin affectionately…. They are truly in love.