Troxy – April 12th

Animal Collective are fascinating in part because of their ability to metamorphosise with each and every release. From the avant garde pop of Feels right up to their magnum opus Merriweather Post Pavillion, Panda Bear, Geologist and Avey Tare have both blown minds and baffled them with decades of music that’s always been wholly unique to themselves. The same could be said of an Animal Collective performance – a rare opportunity on this side of the world that’s as cherished by loyal fans as much as the records before it.

At the Troxy tonight, the band choose to hurtle everyone deep into the world of Painting With, their Dada-inspired dinosaur journey that’s as much bubblegum pop as it is freakish children’s TV show. While there’s something hypnotising about seeing fresh cuts like ‘Hocus Pocus’ and ‘Golden Gal’ live, to expect the packed art deco venue to go as far as to essentially listen to the entire album under the influence of kaleidoscopic lights (that at times are gratingly headache-inducing) and absurd stop-motion projections quickly becomes not much else other than wacky.

Sure, it’s commendable to not “play the hits” – plenty of artists do it and there can be genuine excitement in doing so. Yet Animal Collective don’t even engage in their own technicolour trip – instead, they shy away from it, choosing to hide behind their instruments and not as much as blink at each other. There’s a dreariness about them that completely juxtaposes the multicoloured freakout that’s happening around them, and it’s hard to get on board. With a headline set at End of the Road coming this summer, there’s going to have to be a damn sight more energy pumped into their set that isn’t just psychedelic eye candy.

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