Animal Collective, 'Fall Be Kind' (Domino)

Critical Mass
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by Spencer Kornhaber

There's a certain type of Animal Collective song that excites only the band's devotees: an ambient spiritual so suffused with a reverb-heavy drone that it's like dry ice has flooded your speakers. Last year's Merriweather Post Pavilion, SPIN's 2009 Album of the Year, forwent such formlessness, but the haze returns on this five-track EP. Fortunately, Merriweather's hummable, techno-indebted delirium also returns. "Graze" opens the EP in a reddish fog that's melted by a candy-rainbow rhythmic burst, but the coolest juxtaposition comes on "What Would I Want? Sky," which evolves from a cavernous chant-along into mellow, lovably off-kilter pop.

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