It’s hard to define Animal Collective to new listeners. With a career spanning 17 years, the band has produced some of the most experimental rock/electronic/pop music out there, drastically changing their sound with each record. Animal Collective recently released their 11th LP, Painting With, after teasing the album with a handful of upbeat singles, and it’s obvious that this is their brightest, dancy-est record to date.

On Paining With it’s apparent that long gone are the days of track-long staticky sonic soundscapes made famous on Animal Collective’s earlier works such as Danse Manatee and brought back durung the Centipede Hz era. Another big change is that this album was made without Deakin who has contributed to many of the bands works. This time around, the album was created by Avey Tare, Panda Bear and Geologist, with live support from Jeremy Hyman on drums.

Animal Collective's Live Setup from the Painting With Tour

Animal Collective’s Live Setup from the Painting With Tour

Tracks like “Golden Gal” “Floridada” and “Bagels in Kiev” are good indicators of the bubbly, bright and poppy sound found throughout the record. Indeed, this isn’t a cold, Winter record, this is undoubtedly a sunny, Spring album that will feel so good blasting with the windows down. The only track that really differs from the rest of the album is the closing track “Recycling,” as it could easily fit in on the Fall Be Kind EP.

While the band usually trades off on vocal duties throughout their albums, letting Avey sing a song, Panda the next, Painting With utilizes vocal “hocketing” which is the rhythmic technique of alternating notes, and in this case, vocals. To the untrained ear, AnCo can sound garbled, and hocketing does little to help with this. For instance, on “Floridada” the Panda Bear echoes Avey’s lyrics, but it sounds like they’re saying entirely different things.

Avey Tare during the Painting With Tour

Avey Tare during the Painting With Tour

While Painting With is markedly different than what I was expecting from the new album, it’s very much an evolution of the sound we have come to know and love from the Baltimore band. Never failing to expand their sound and push the boundaries of psychedelic rock, this is the next era of Animal Collective.