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Animal Collective

This ain't no never-never land. This ain't no tweehouse fort. This ain't no Disney-go-round. But somewhere in the ether, savvy counselors at a cult day camp broadcast Sung Tongs over the PA during 'shrooms-and-cookies hour. Animal Collective's fuzzy-wuzzy instigators, Avey Tare and Panda Bear, sacrifice folk, cracked Beach Boys vinyl, Hawaiian skirts, tribalistic hoo-ha, and sanity in the service of what can be described only as childlike, brain-sprained madness. Every song is too extradimensionally magical, too beguilingly weird to accept as real -- you half-expect them to dissolve before your eyes like heat-induced illusions. "The Softest Voice" is a ten-mile-deep slog through a haunted, chime-studded, beaded curtain, and the barbershop quartet on "College" sounds like it's sliding into a vat of boiling oil. Then there's the suspended-animation vocal dreck of "Kids on Holiday," stuck in the amber behind a tweaked guitar motif, and the druggy, Donald Duck warble of "Whaddit I Done." The weirdness flows steadily between Tare and Bear and gets all over the listener's synapses. Delightfully, it can't be scrubbed out. -- Ray Cummings

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