The other flag-bearers of psychedelic music (we’ll discount Tame Impala) are back with ‘Florida’ – yes, Animal Collective have dropped a weird new track to test the waters for their new album Painting With. And it’s kinda ‘eh’. Animal Collective have definitely retained their weirdness, making a track that sounds like a corrupted children’s party that someone spiked with acid. Some of the sounds that come through are cartoon springs, squelches, rattling cowbell and of course, the entire band’s youthful vocals which sound so innocent and free that the lyrics couldn’t possibly be sad, but there are a few lines here and there that stick out like a sore thumb, such as ‘I don’t even know where to begin / or how I should start these days’ and ‘Sent from a world / That isn’t so far / And always right here / Where all the boundaries / Have disappeared’. The band travel the world in four short minutes, only bringing clarity in the call-and-answer chorus.
That chorus, when the band isn’t struggling to fight over one another, is wonderful, but the verse of the song is so overwhelming with ideas it’s hard to keep track of what’s going on and what means something and what doesn’t. Occasionally a lyric will shine through like ‘And all the nights / Are stitched with a glue / That’s sticking to me /And I’ll stick to you’, which reminds me of something that Jeff Mangum of Neutral Milk Hotel would sing, but you’d only see that sweet moment by scouring a lyric sheet because it’s coated in druggy kid’s music. Underneath all of the squelching springs, there’s Beach Boy harmonies and a drumbeat which grounds the song, but it’s so drenched in every sound possible that not much meaning can be sourced without diving into the lyrics.