Animal Collective | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Animal Collective 

I'm probably alone in this, but I think inconsistency is more compelling than the ability to drop an amazing record every year. Two albums ago Animal Collective put out Sung Tongs, an instant touchstone that made the band both the Beatles and the Stones for art school kiddies (note the recent landslide of bands copying their strums and meowing through the choruses). Then came Feels, which was, like, hippie, please!--all wild trash and sloppy, hookless New Age drudgery. But the recently leaked Strawberry Jam (due on Domino later this month) is a return to form, capturing the band at its invigorated and invigorating best. It's shambling, looping, zipping, and zooming, with Animal Collective's familiar broken-up Brooklyn bong-a-loid bleat, but they've also switched things up, adding a little forest disco (kinda organic, like they've made instruments out of whatever's handy) and some much needed breathing room. It's not a singular steez, but at least the boys are masters of their own weirdo adventure. Eric Copeland opens. a 7:30 PM, the Vic, 3145 N. Sheffield, 773-472-0449 or 312-559-1212, $23.50. A --Jessica Hopper

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