Describing Animal Collective's sound is tough, but probably the closest I can get is this: remember when you used to roll down a hill as a kid, and instantly bounce back up dizzy as hell, the world swirling and bouncing around? AC is that feeling - that bizarre, disorienting, fleeting euphoria - made into music. Crowned by pretty much everybody as the new kings of psychedelia, they've released 3 albums and a few solo ones, each a little more unhinged and astounding than the last. And each time they've come out, I've listened, admired, and promptly forgotten about them - satisfied that some people are exploring the farthest reaches of the musicverse, I returned to my Lil Wayne and Vampire Weekend.
That pattern somewhat changes with "Merriweather Post Pavilion", their latest, most accessible LP. MPP is already being called Animal Collective's "sellout" album (as much as a drone-ambient/spacerock/afro-electro freakshow of a band can sellout), but to me it's just conventional enough to be listenable beyond its sonic novelty. There's a distinct "Beach Boys drop acid" feel to the whole thing, with the vocal harmonies smoothing over the often chaotic backdrop of pulsating percussion and feral synths. What's incredible is how organic everything sounds - there's no guitars, and few acoustic instruments of any kind - yet you'd never call this electronic...it's a vibe completely it's own. Which is why, when listening to MPP, it's hard not to think that this is the future of pop music, with its seamless meld of old and new, African and European, natural and artificial, reassurance and dissonance.
Marinate on it:
Animal Collective - MPP
If you're digging this, I would also highly suggest you go back and check out Brynna's post on Gang Gang Dance, a similar band that also sounds a lot like the future of music