Remember that post about a rumored EP that Animal Collective would drop on us this late fall? Well, it's right around the corner. Fall Be Kind, clocking in at 27 minutes, finds our brothers AnCo extending their newfound sound from Merriweather and expanding on it in some bizarre ways.

Opening track "Graze" starts the hyped EP off with a bizarre tone: I kid you not, the first 2/3 of this song sounds as if it were straight out of some sort of musical. With a lush and heavily orchestrated backing, the track morphs towards the end into a "Brothersport"-esque African synth jam, with dueling vocals. I should also mention that the ending third of this song heavily relies on my favorite underdog instrument, the flute.

Fall Be Kind's next track, "What Would I Want? Sky", is a 7 minute piece that shares a similar quality with "Graze": it can essentially be broken down into two different songs, or movements. The first 3.5 minutes are all about the build-up, with heavy breakbeats over swirling synthesizers, brought together by Panda Bear's chanting. After the build up comes the sweetest moment on the entire EP. Being the first-ever song to LEGALLY sample the Grateful Dead, the chopped lines "What Would I Want, Sky" come in for the whole song. With Avey Tare and Panda Bear trading vocals over the otherworldly music, the song borders on corny: however, I think it's absolutely beautiful. With such a joyous feeling, "What Would I Want? Sky" could be one of my favorite tracks of the year.

Taking things down a level from the happy hand claps of "What Would I Want? Sky" is AnCo's latest live favorite, "Bleeding". Also included on the Brothersport 10", this track is a 3.5 murky trip, with droning backing, smashed glass sample(s), and traded vocals. I'm not sure whether or not this song makes me want to cry, stare at the ceiling for an hour, and fall asleep: these are all (arguably) good things, however.

"On A Highway" is a track that's been played live for years now, so most fans who have seen AnCo live will be familiar. Similar to "Bleeding", "On A Highway" is a very seasonal track, evoking winter's harsh months with deep, throbbing pass sludging over echoing chamber synths. Almost a confessional for singer Avey Tare, the lyrics are the most interesting element in this song: "Tired of Noah [Panda Bear]'s dreaming"... a sad ode to the wearing force of touring, or maybe even the year's early season(s).

Finally, we have the 7 minute plus closer, "I Think I Can". With a dark, unsettling introduction (that sounds as if I was walking through a dark cave) of eerie, bubbling synth- the song explodes at the :48 second mark, with hand claps, building up with tribal drums and chanted vocals. The song continues getting odder and odder sounding, but in a bizarre hypnotic manner that only Animal Collective could pull off.

A lot of people won't be pleased with this EP. After Merriweather- and, subsequently, the fame that came with it- people will say how Animal Collective have 'lost it' (in fact, one person asked: "Do any of these songs NOT have hand claps?"). However, "Fall Be Kind" finds AnCo moving in a natural direction: pop sensibilities mixed with the bizarre, reliance on dueling vocals, and wild song structure(s). In a way, this EP is an extension of Merriweather- it is very electronic sounding. However, rather than being 95% samples, this finds the group taking a step back, and becoming a little bit more organic.

Animal Collective may not be "YOUR BAND" anymore, but fuck- I think this EP is absolutely amazing.


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