Animal Collective - New Town Burnout
The heavy beats and restricted melodies that open Panda Bear’s longer Centipede Hz contribution, “New Town Burnout”, immediately remind of his most recent solo effort, 2010’s Tomboy. I really liked Tomboy: it had some really great singles (“Slow Motion”! “Last Night At The Jetty”!) especially, but I did kinda feel a little less enthusiastic towards it than, say, Fall Be Kind or Merriweather Post Pavilion. And “New Town Burnout”, now confirmed by Panda to have been originally written for Tomboy, pretty much explains why.
Tomboy had a unique, imaginative production approach for sure - the weird guitar sounds, the scattered sound effects - but, along with Avey Tare’s Down There, it didn’t have the same lush, spacious sound that the Collective’s last few records had had. “New Town Burnout”, on the other hand, is just so much more dense with sonic information, and as deep and immersive as any of the group’s best work. Whether that’s the work of producer Ben Allen or the magic that only comes with an AnCo group record, it speaks to the ability these guys have to bring the best out of each other’s songs.
People have been saying that Centipede Hz is more or less an Avey-centric AnCo record, and it’s true that Panda’s vocal contributions are pretty limited compared to Merriweather. But if there’s any member that feels more prevalent than ever, I think it might just be Geologist. Who else exactly is packing these songs with the amount of crazy audio manipulations and obscure samples that they contain? I’ve always kinda had a hunch that Geologist brings the atmospheric, almost avant-garde production element to the table anyways. Yeah, yeah, we don’t really know who’s making which sound on this album, but I’m willing to bet that a big part of Centipede’s crazy, maximalist production is his work.