Every Animal Collective album is different. And Centipede Hz moves the psychedelic electronic band in yet another direction, adding to its rainbow oeuvre of challenging music.
Centipede Hz is a glitchy, loud, mixed-up circus of an album. At first listen, it is difficult to get through. At just under 55 minutes, Centipede Hz is Animal Collective's longest record since its 2003 debut, Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished, and it's debatable which is more of a chore to ingest.
Centipede Hz was recorded using traditional instruments to mimic the quality of the group's live performances. While this goal may have been achieved, the sound produced by an Animal Collective live show isn't meant for headphones and the result is an album that would be more agreeable in a large, audience-filled venue.
As has been the case with most everything from the band, Centipede Hz hits highs and lows. The single "Today's Supernatural" is catchy in spite of its grittiness and the listener is actually able to discern the subtly sentimental lyrics: "Come and join me in the speaker there's a ruby in your eye and we don't have to be the same / 'Cause your own is the sweetest thing inside of you / And our home is bigger than a mountain view / You'll find something you believe that you should do."
But overall, the range spanned on this album is narrow and lacks the rewards hidden in previous records.
"Amanita," the album's closing track, is a lackluster, tribal-sounding call to arms ending with the lines, "What are you gonna do? / Go into the forest! / Until I really can't remember my name / I'm gonna come back and things will be different / I'm gonna bring back some stories and games."
Animal Collective has proven one thing for certain with Centipede Hz: each time it comes back, things will be different.