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Animal Collective Strawberry Jam

While Animal Collective's latest LP may find the band increasingly enthused with traditional pop-song structures, it would be wrong to say that in doing so they have somehow lost their trademark experimentalism. Strawberry Jam exhibits how moods can be as malleable as genres, how a song that is seemingly atonal and absurd can reveal itself to be heart-wrenchingly sublime. Most of the album's nine tracks begin with synthetic tribal drones before spastic percussive layers are introduced, but none of this seems to matter once vocals emerge. Death screams, reverb-laden falsettos, and Brian Wilson harmonies slam into each other, and the resulting urgency is stupefying. Strawberry Jam is the Collective's most mature outing yet.

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