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CD CHOICE: ANIMAL COLLECTIVE Merriweather Post Pavillion Domino*****

Strawberry Jam, Animal Collective's last album, was overshadowed by a release from one of their own. Noah "Panda Bear" Lennox's Person Pitchusurped much of the praise that Strawberry Jam's rich, hallucinogenic pop should have attracted, and went on to be one of 2007's key releases.

There will be no such problems this time around. For one, there's no sign of a Panda Bear album
to queer the pitch. For another, Panda Bear's handiwork and fondness for idiosyncratic, soaring harmonies and melodies are all over Merriweather Post Pavillion. More importantly, the new album (named after a Maryland venue) is where Animal Collective reach for the stars and actually break on through to the other side.

Yes, it's the first week of 2009 and we're talking about a landmark release. AC have been
at this juncture before, but have always shied away from making the great leap - they have never
seemed interested in moving on from cult indie status. What has changed is that the rest of the
world has caught up.

Merriweather Post Pavillion's restless, euphoric grooves, coming from every conceivable
angle and position, are perfect for people who crave music that is ambitious, challenging and

You'll get all that and more here. Each track is super-scaled, outdoing what came before in
terms of epic choral reach, psychedelic swooning and extraterrestrial bliss. Whether it's
Lennox's cooing about his wife and daughters on My Girls("four walls and adobe slats for my girls") or
the way Summertimes Clothesmoves confidently into top harmonic pop gear, there is a sense throughout of a band perfectly in tune with their sound and their time.

By the time the closing track, Brother Sport, explodes into the maddest, most insane and most
wonderful blast of glee you'll hear this year, you too will be firmly under their spell.  www.myspace.com/animalcollectivetheband JIM CARROLL

Download tracks: My Girls, Bluish, Summertime Clothes, Brother Sport