Think Outside the Boom Box: Avey Tare returns

Music columnist Patrick McKenna on the Animal Collective frontman’s second solo album

By Patrick McKenna | April 15, 2014

Tags: Music Reviews

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Outside of its intensely psychedelic sound, experimental group Animal Collective is best known to the music-obsessive community for the equally wonderful side projects it generates.

Between singer and multi-instrumentalist Panda Bear’s Tomboy and now singer and multi-instrumentalist Avey Tare’s most recent outfit, the selection of outrageous material the men behind the Baltimore-based psych kings have released is enormous.

Avey Tare, birth name David Portner, has the reputation as the melodically pleasing Panda Bear’s vocal counterpart. For all the lovely harmonies Bear brings to Animal Collective’s biggest hit “My Girls,” Tare is prone to let loose some of the most terrorizing yelps and squeals music has ever seen on tracks such as “Peacebone” and “For Reverend Green.” And with AnCo side group Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, Tare stays true to his roots.

The group, which recently released its debut album Enter the Slasher House, includes Tare, his girlfriend, ex-Dirty Projectors keyboardist Angel Deradoorian and ex-Ponytail drummer Jeremy Hyman. After suffering sickness (half of last year’s AnCo tour was postponed due to Tare’s bronchitis) and finding a reemergence for his passion of horror cinema, Tare channeled his energy into Enter the Slasher House.

The album opens with “A Sender,” a distinctive psych-meets-punk energy of AnCo dosage, showing off the mesmerizing speed and rhythm Hyman brings to the record and carries on throughout it. Hyman pushes the album’s beat right along with Tare’s moans and groans, creating a sound similar to AnCo’s latest album, Centipede Hz.

Slasher continues with “Duplex Trip,” properly titled for its loops and turns that leave listeners pleased, but maybe a little confused. “Little Fang,” the album’s lead single, holds with a bass line and melody that could easily be confused for a creepier, Hissing Fauna...-era Of Montreal track, providing the album with its grooviest track.

Enter the Slasher House has its downfalls — essentially the last quarter of the album is an over-layered, jam-packed mess of sound. In addition, the utilization of Deradoorian isn’t what it should be; it’s an Avey Tare album and that’s why it's awesome, but Deradoorian isn’t properly used to achieve the sound the Slasher Flicks were aiming for.

Outside of anything, it’s just nice to have more AnCo-based material. Tare hasn’t lost the touch of his synth-destroying, outlandishly experimental style and with that sound comes another record full of adventure.

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