© 2023 WFAE
90.7 Charlotte 93.7 Southern Pines 90.3 Hickory 106.1 Laurinburg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Animal Collective: Starring The Grateful Dead

After topping many year-end Top 10 lists in 2009, Animal Collective faces high expectations after Merriweather Post Pavilion. Given its experimental roots, the band could head in any number of directions, but its new EP, Fall Be Kind, may well point the way.

This is more than a between-albums release, full of short studio outtakes or remixes. There are real must-hear moments on Fall Be Kind, and "What Would I Want? Sky" is one of them. For one thing, it's the first song to legally license a Grateful Dead sample. And, in a smartly subtle move, Animal Collective doesn't even unveil it until three minutes in, after a dense, psychedelic junket through a sea of vocals and unintelligible sounds.

When the dust settles, the song bobs into a 7/8 time signature, and a vocal cut from the Dead's "Unbroken Chain" bubbles to the top of the mix. Avey Tare ices the music with an emotional vocal as surreal electronic swirls and bleeps dive in and out of the song. It's colorful, lush, rewarding and, above all, a welcome rebuttal to critics of music sampling.

Listen to yesterday's Song of the Day, and subscribe to the Song of the Day newsletter.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Anthony Fantano