- With's 2009's MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION, Animal Collective fully completes its transition from a restless freak-folk act to an assured though still experimental electro-pop ensemble. Like its predecessor, STRAWBERRY JAM, MERRIWEATHER takes plenty of cues from PERSON PITCH, the acclaimed 2007 solo outing by singer/multi-instrumentalist Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), creating a mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic keyboard-heavy sound that might pass for pop in an alternate universe. While "My Girls" comes off like a dream collaboration between Brians Eno and Wilson, "Summertime Clothes" is a heavily looped piece of skewed synth-pop, and "Brother Sport" is a busy, highly percussive number that could almost pass for dance music. Though fans of Animal Collective's early lo-fi recordings may be alarmed by PAVILION's striking aural sheen, the album retains the group's signature strangeness, recasting it in bright, shimmering light. One of the best indie-pop releases of early '09, MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION is an impressive addition to the Animal Collective's revered catalogue, and marks a considerable step forward for the ever-adventurous act.
Rolling Stone (p.66) - 3.5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]he psychedelic heads of Animal Collective are evolving from raging sonic hallucinations into gentler, more melodic trips."
Spin (p.83) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "MERRIWEATHER plays like the summation of a long, strange trip, combining the group's career touchstones: harmonic Beach Boys pop, African tribal chants, minimalism, minimal techno, psychedelia, and dub."
Spin (p.34) - Ranked #1 in Spin's "40 Best Albums Of 2009" -- "MERRIWEATHER was a seamless reinvention..."
Entertainment Weekly (p.65) - "[A]n album full of effervescent, transportive oddity....'My Girls' floats on swirling chorus rounds an the occasional falsetto 'owooh!'..." -- Grade: A-
Q (Magazine) (p.114) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "With MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILLION, Animal Collective have refined their distinctive vision, once again proving that they are ahead of the pack."
Mojo (Publisher) (p.98) - 4 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ith chorally arranged voices resounding in a virtual cathedral space....A dangerous whirlpool of delights....Even on a purely technical level, this is astonishing music."
Blender (Magazine) (p.61) - 3 stars out of 5 -- "[T]his is their sunniest, most likeable record, leavened by hints of light-footed dance music: 'Summertime Clothes' is guitarless glam-rock..."
Paste (magazine) (p.52) - "['My Girls'] is a loose-limbed jumping jack of a fem-positive pop song that sounds somewhere between Eno and Byrne's MY LIFE IN THE BUSH OF GHOSTS and the Spice Girls' SPICEWORLD....'Summertime Clothes' is similarly addictive..."
Clash (magazine) (p.93) - "MERRIWEATHER POST PAVILION still has the excitement, the unique craziness and the essence of terror, but the songs are easier to listen to, softer, and their melodies shine like never before."
Record Collector (magazine) (p.90) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "[T]hey sound more awestruck with the possibilities of life, love and music than ever before."
Uncut (magazine) - 5 stars out of 5 -- "It's a rare contemporary album that sounds like it couldn't have been made at any other time or by any other band....It feels like one of the landmark American albums of the century so far."