I'm going to make a bold statement. Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion is the most important, and best, album since Kid A / Amnesiac.
I toyed with this conclusion about a week ago but had to think about it before posting it on my blog. I have listened to the album through and through about 50 times now and my conclusion stands.
AC has broken new grounds, probably the most important characteristic of a great album. The sounds, built from keyboards, synthesizers, light guitars, drum machines, samples, and most importantly vocals, contribute to a new form of music that is unclassifiable. Every song on the album has its place, every song sounds great, all the songs flow together into one meaningful piece.
The intro 'In the Flowers': The distortion and peculiar sounds reveal a 3/4 time signature arpeggiating guitar, "If I just could lose my body for the night," overcome with an explosive beat and keyboard set on high resonance covering the same guitar riff with it's own twist.
'My Girls': catchy and has distint melodies and rhythm, which can easily catch main stream attention. The rounds and harmonies take turns rotating octaves as Avey Tare and Panda Bear sing over each other, as they bridge between verse and chorus.
'Summertime Clothes': a tribute to the humidity of a NYC summer, follows another arpeggiating keyboard as well as a catchy beat and bass line. The bass line follows, then drops, then follows, then drops. Mostly sung by Avey Tare with the occassional spurts of harmonies by Panda Bear at the higher octave that ring and resonate in the ear.
'Bluish': The distorted guitar (maybe keyboard?) that form the backdrop of the melody make you feel like you are underwater. The song is about being infatuated with love, "I'm getting lost in your curls; I'm getting crushed out on the things that only I should see; They're not for boys they're just for me."
'Guy's Eyes': the ability of the singers to play off of each other. The song is minimalist in instrumentals, and focuses more on the raw ability of the band to carry the song through their vocals. Avey Tare and Panda Bear sing over each other in rounds that take their own patterns, then harmonize, then take their own patterns again. The vocal lines overlap each other, break off, then join at different octaves, then explode, its beautiful. You can envision the music.
'No More Runnin': the song is the slowest on the album, mostly characterized by the two singers holding a single harmony.
'Brothersport': MAN (actually I looked it up and its "Matt," but it sounds like MAN). Begins with a funky vocal line, great harmony, then a long bridge with arpeggios and a defined beat. The song carries the bridge for some time, culminates to the end of the album, and breaks off into the conclusion, beautiful repetition. "Keep it real Keep it real Shout out."
I used to refer to Radiohead as the "last great band." A few weeks ago, I never even thought I would question this statement. Animal Collective have released their best album yet, an album that is epic. This album will be copied by many, and will change music. They are artists; They are the next great band.