Feels

Animal Collective specialize in shape-shifting songs that seem to wrench melodies out of the ether. Their third full-length album maintains a sense of childlike joy and free-flowing exploration while creating bizarro pastoral reveries out of primitivist tom-tom beats, guitar screeches and all kinds of overlapping vocals, which provide both human-scale atmosphere and hooks. The lead single, "Grass," sounds like Brian Eno's "Another Green World" on mescaline, with a winding, beatific refrain giving way to staccato screams amid a warped country-rock bounce. At nearly seven minutes, "The Purple Bottle" finds just the right mix of whimsy and ambience, mixing cracked Modest Mouse refrains, unintelligible squeaks and gorgeous Beach Boys chorales over chiming keyboards and speedy tribal drums. A handful of cuts simply drift by unremarkably, but at its best, Feels gives hope to young bands who want to make beautiful noise but refuse to color within the lines.

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