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Strawberry Jam
List Price: $15.98

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Product Description

Animal Collective takes up where they left off with 2005's Feels, continuing with more traditional rock instrumentation (underlying a wealth of bizarre noises, rhythmic loops, and effects, naturally). The songs were written in a live setting (and polished on tours), and certainly convey that energy. They also convey the madcap experimentation that is the band's hallmark. As with Feels, or the preceding Sung Tongs, this is tempered by stellar songwriting ability, the ultimate factor in its success. The album opens with "Peacebone," an immediate indicator of the oddball, inspiring pop that follows. Its lyrics seem to be an inspirational missive on seizing the day, but then who can tell? On "Chores," Panda Bear puts in a manic sing-song with his Brian Wilson tenor, over a driving bed of sound effects and synth noises. "For Reverend Green" starts with a distorted wash of tremolo guitar and soon gives way to one of the finest pop songs the band has offered. Granted, it may not be radio pop, what with the mouth noises and surreal lyrics, but that's no small part of its charm. "Winter Wonder Land" is manic fist-pumping pop of the first order, and the crackly mellow piano sample opening "Cuckoo Cuckoo" does not prepare one for its pounding bombast. 2007 has been a typically prolific year for the band, and despite (or because of?) all their divergent pet projects, they've managed to improve with each outing. One can never quite tell what's next, and that's half the glory. Animal Collective's irreverence, absurdity, openness, and sheer melodic prowess conspire to produce yet another exceptional album. --Jason Pace

Customer Reviews:

  • Blows My Mind
    This cd is no doubt their most accessible and solid from start to finish. I'm not saying their other cd's arn't good (I own all the rest and they are amazing), its just that i think this is their opus and they will never be able to top it. Start with "peacebone" and "fireworks" then listen to "winter wonder land" and "chores". If by this time you haven't had your mind completely blown then Animal Collective is just not for you....more info
  • Better than Merriweather
    This CD is much catchier than their new release (Merriweather Post Pavilion). Every song on the album sounds unique and I often listen to the CD from beginning to end. The only song I don't particularly care for is Winter Wonderland (just my opinion). Beware, Animal Collective is not for everyone. Listeners should expect to hear noise at times and be able to appreciate it. It may take a few listens to really get into, but it's an excellent CD. Also, Derek is a very underrated song....more info
  • totally awesome
    totally different from their other stuff but more streamlined and still so animal collective. these guys have got to be one of the most interesting and brilliant bands around right now. i cant wait to see what they make next......more info
  • Some appetite
    Well . It's my favourite right now. Nice, crispy, energetic. A little noise, a little pop. Cockoo cockoo fantastickoo!...more info
  • this album blows
    I Love Panda Bear and I love Noah's voice, unfortunately this album is all shrieks of the Avery variety, which equals to me , total pain. Being a former Fanimal, yes that term exists, I've come to realize I no longer hold this band in such high esteem, particularly after this dreadful album.

    I disliked it so much I deleted it from my hard drive so it wouldn't even have the chance of coming up on shuffle. ...more info
  • Something To Really Sink Your Teeth Into
    After thoroughly immersing myself in 4 Animal Collective albums, (Here Comes the Indian, Sung Tongs, Feels, and Strawberry Jam), i can honestly say without hesitation or doubt, that these guys are genuinely freaky dudes (Native Belle), there is no question about it. I was convinced that they wanted me in a mental institution (anyone who has heard native belle or any of that album under the influence can attest to this). I think a common misconception with people is that they are being different for the sake of being different. Let me assure you, this is not the case. I think their flamboyant personality really works on this here record, because they are totally out of control, yet most of their songs are confined to some sort of structure, blending pop melodies, psychedelic sounds, electronic bleeps and blips, odd time signatures, and folk tendencies into something original and experimental, yet accessible to someone new to their music.

    "Chores" sounds innocent enough, with it's swirling, tornado like verses complete with static, and what sounds almost like streamers and a fireworks display. 4/5

    "For Reverend Green" reminds me a lot of Modest Mouse on "Good News" (see: The World At Large) until they break into the chorus. an excellent song exploring a lot of territory, and experimenting with different sounds. The vocals are really what drives this song. 4.5/5

    "Cuckoo" starts out slow, with a meandering piano loop, some background vocals, some blips, and then all of a sudden everything stops and the song really starts with a steady piano loop (always present throughout) and some electro glitch like sounds. Part of the brilliance of this song is the fact that he matches the lyrics perfectly with the anxiety of the track. Everything comes to a head and he begins to cry out for help: "Sometimes all I want's one favorite song/And two to three minutes don't seem so long/And where's my mom, I wanna hold her tight/She's so far away from crowded nights. He's really going cuckoo, but trying to convince himself that it's ok, as the anxiety blossoms out into a panic attack freak out, basically alternating back and forth between calm and out of control. Really something to behold. 5/5

    "Fireworks" is an absolute masterpiece. Animal Collective have really found their niche here. A Helicopter like beat, beautiful vocal harmony, with a voice reminiscent of Mick Jagger: Full of emotion, but toned down a few notches.(Then i start to feel tragic/People greet me/I'm polite). It's as if they incorporated everything that was great from their previous albums into this. Everything starts to come together forming a mini climax of sorts (They make me feel that I'm only all i see sometimes). A song reflecting on the importance of living. note the time changes from the verse first to the second. 6/5

    "Unsolved mysteries" starts off a bit slow, but erupts into an incredible underwater circus complete with water sounds and a chorus that reminds me a lot of the Annuals. So much going on, but as i alluded to before, nothing seems out of place, and the song reaches it's destination. 6/5 because of the chorus.

    "Winter Wonder Land" progressively gets better and better, reaching a aesthetically pleasing climax after the bridge as he "ohh's and ahh's" at the snow outside of his window. 5/5 short and sweeeeet.

    I think Animal Collective is as close to being completely original as you can get. They like everyone else, probably have their influences (or at least someone you can compare them with, mine being Mick Jagger and the Annuals), but still sound like they are animal collective, and nobody else. Plus i think going against the grain (something i don't think they do purposely) is much needed in this day and age in music, where your run of the mill pop song is running rampant nearly everywhere you look.

    Honorary Mentions:

    ...more info
  • Sticky sweet
    It was probably SJ that sealed the deal on this collective being more than formless psychedelia with what was certainly their most complete album to that point. Simultaneously refining and expanding primal experimentation with more bite and backbone than many had initially predicted, AC proved they were one of the few indie acts still honoring the title. A special thanks for the track "Cuckoo", the finest, loopiest articulation of electric insanity I have heard in recent times, with a chorus whose brilliant percussive punctuations shatters straight into my subconscious. ...more info
  • Blow your mind out
    You've never heard anything like 'Strawberry Jam'. Every track is worth hooking up to an I.V. to let flow through your blood....more info
  • Too Much Going On
    Although there are a couple of songs I enjoy, Animal Collective just has too much going on in their music. I feel like I'm overdosing on speed every time I turn on one of their songs. I hate listening to some nerd-like voice try to sing and then out of the blue scream some nonsense. ...more info
  • good music if you are adventurous
    good album, my 1st AC album and I didnt think I was going to enjoy it. Once I learned to appreciate the layers, samples, and wonderful randomness it is an easy, playful, album to enjoy. ...more info
  • Decent, Could Be Brilliant.
    Animal Collective have managed to maintain an general ambiance of highly creative and haphazardly entrancing melodies with "Sung Tongs" and "Feels." Both albums are spangled with excessive layering and experimentation that somehow manages to evolve into a quite conventional tune. True, "Sung Tongs" and "Feels" had their differences, mainly being a slight trajectory into a more commercial atmosphere with "Feels," yet both still managed to capture the listener's imagination with both a unique use of lush melody and a constantly evolving timbre. To those who enjoy the atmospheric aspects of the past two Animal Collective albums, as do I, be warned: the moments of psychedelic hysteria on "Strawberry Jam" are few.

    The more commercial leanings of "Strawberry Jam" should be no surprise to anyone who has been keeping tabs on Animal Collective. Shorter songs, discernable vocals, a return to earth from space, all were foretold on "Feels." Though even with these aspects fully prepared for on my behalf, I still emerged from "Strawberry Jam" quite dissatisfied. The previous overpowering melodic presence has been largely replaced by sharp and angular pop songs. Rather than the dynamic drifting walls of sonic beauty featured in previous albums, "Strawberry Jam" is full of erratic electronic experimentation that seems almost cut-and-paste and completely out of character for Animal Collective. The reverb drenched vocal harmonies no longer quiver and float in the background but are now head and shoulders above the mix and lack the obscure, mysterious magic of those on "Feels;" but the greatest peeve of mine towards this album lies with its inability to distinguish itself as anything more than another good indie album.

    That being said, "Strawberry Jam," coming from any other band than Animal Collective, is a good release; the songs are bizarre yet catchy, and there is potential for greatness eagerly bubbling over the brim. Had Animal Collective not released two much more entertaining and entrancing albums prior to "Strawberry Jam," these anomalous and awkward pop songs would interest me, but to no extraordinary extent. Unfortunately Animal Collective has proven to be a band of exceptional talent; therefore I am left with the putrid aftertaste of underachievement. I am forced to give this album no less than four stars, because in its own right it is a decent album. To those who find the reverb layered atmospherics of early Animal Collective albums intriguing, I would strongly recommend purchasing Panda Bear's 2007 release "Person Pitch" rather than "Strawberry Jam." To those new to Animal Collective and accustomed to more conventional music, this album is a great place to start. Keep in mind as you move onto earlier material that you are getting into a completely different musical experience. ...more info
  • Colorful Sounds
    This amazing amalgam of artists does it again, this time creating a fun and beautiful rock album full of excited beats and primal melodies. This may be some of Animal Collective's most dizzyingly colorful work yet! Lovely clusters of notes strung by their keyboards, warped calls and vocal hopscotch embellish this album as if it were an ornate and elaborate modern painting. I couldn't think of a more excellent model of art rock.

    But forgive me, my description could not possibly expose the wonder of this album. You must find out for yourself!...more info