Animal Collective’s highly-anticipated, hotly disputed and (in our humble opinions) utterly brilliant Centipede Hz has been out for about a week now and has been met by a large amount of criticism for not being a perfect album. While Animal Collective aren’t a band that listens much to what people have to say about their music, it seems they are playing towards their fans who have been begging for some acoustic AnCo since 2004′s masterpiece Sung Tongs. Recorded at the end of last June, Animal Collective’s live set for KEXP has the band stripping away most of their electronics and effects in place for some earthy acoustic instrumentation. The result is two incredibly different takes on ‘Wide Eyed’ and ‘Pulleys’ that show off the subtler sides of Centipede Hz. ’Wide Eyed’ is Deakin’s turn in the spotlight and listening to his fragile and restrained performance here really has me hoping for some more Deak in the near future. ’Pullyes’ doubles the amount of mysticism and wonder of the original version and the set also includes an interview with Panda and Geologist as well as a performance of ‘Honeycomb’. There is a lot of gorgeous music packed into these 18 minutes.
The last time we heard some new Animal Collective I admitted that my opinions about their music immediately after listening will probably change as I continue to dive into the track. In the case of ‘Honeycomb’ and ‘Gotham’, the music continued to get better and better and there is no reason why their new leak (and the first official taste of Centipede Hz with ‘Honeycomb’ and ‘Gotham’ not being on the final tracklisting) ‘Today’s Supernatural’ won’t be the same. Luckily, ‘Today’s Supernatural’ has been floating around on their live performances for a while now so the barrage of sounds and vocals wasn’t a totally new assault on my mind. This is probably the closest thing I’ve ever heard Animal Collective approaching a rager with some serious punk-rock sensibilities, just all the guitar and bass is replaced with wonky synths and abstract vocal effects. Animal Collective also have a tendency to let their songs fade into each other and the teaser at the end of ‘Today’s Supernatural’ hints that the follow-up ‘Rosie Oh’ could give us some time to mellow out a bit. The second half of 2012 is delivering some amazing music and promising ever more, but for me nothing will be able to out hype Centipede Hz.