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(photo credit: Courtesy)
As a small but dedicated contingent of Animal Collective fans grows increasingly excited ahead of the musicians' October 23rd show at Tel Aviv's Zappa Club, the band has raised the level of anticipation by announcing a January 2009 release date for its new album, Merriweather Post Pavilion.
Formed in 2000, Animal Collective has released six albums and six EPs, each one vastly different from the others. The band's music has been categorized as many different things: freak folk, noise rock, electronic folk, along with a variety of other labels and terms. "We don't have a word for it," Animal Collective drummer Noah Lennox says when asked about the band's musical style. "It's our own form of soul music. The music is personal to us; not directly autobiographical, but it's about the things that we think about and care about."
Whether listening to acoustic songs off of Sung Tongs, the electronic samplings combined with heartfelt lead and backup vocals off of Feels and Strawberry Jam, or tracks off of their other releases, Animal Collective does not cease to amaze. Listening to the band's albums is a rewarding experience and one may be surprised to discover new sounds nestled somewhere in a song, be it on the third, tenth or seventy-eighth time he or she has heard the track. Fans agree that they never seem to tire of the band's albums despite repeated, and some might say obsessive listens, due to the fact that the songs - including "Grass," "The Purple Bottle" and "Fireworks" - are richly complex, yet not overwhelmingly so. "We're trying to make music that we get excited about and hopefully gets others excited," Lennox says.
Besides Lennox (who also goes by the name Panda Bear and releases solo albums under that moniker), Animal Collective is comprised of David Portner (who goes by Avey Tare), Brian Weitz (also known as Geologist), and Josh Dibb (who goes by the name Deakin). The lot of them are all close friends from their formative years growing up in Baltimore, Maryland. Lennox and Dibb met in elementary school and started making music when they were 13. Portner and Weitz met in high school and played music together; they later met Dibb, who introduced them to Lennox. Dibb and Lennox enrolled in universities in and around Boston while Portner and Weitz studied in New York. Eventually, in the year 2000, the four wound up living in New York and began to practice, record and tour consistently.
Of the forthcoming Animal Collective album, Lennox says that all of the songs work together better than any record the band has released previously. "Once it's over, it all makes sense in a way I really like," he says, explaining that what differentiates the new album from its forbearers is the focus on bass. Merriweather Post Pavilion, according to Lennox, is the band's best-recorded album.
Lennox, who has lived in Portugal for the past four years and is currently working on a follow-up to his critically acclaimed 2007 solo album Person Pitch, said that Tel Aviv concert-goers can expect the band to play not only new songs, but songs from the band's previous records that have been reworked for their new style.
"Live, we're trying to get our energy out there and share it with people," Lennox says of the band's performances. If the recordings are any indication of the band's capabilities to play live, fans in Israel have much to look forward to at the Animal Collective show.
Tickets cost NIS 200 and may be purchased by calling (03) 767-4646. Doors open at 9:30 p.m.