Animal Collective

Campfire Songs

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Campfire Songs is a self-titled release by three of the four members of the Animal Collective, differing from previous Animal Collective releases in its acoustic guitar instrumentation and absence of electronics. The five lengthy tracks, adding up to 40 minutes, fall somewhere between the category of "songs" and ambient pieces, with repetitive strums that sometimes verge on drone. Wispy vocals deliver all-but-indecipherable lyrics in a slightly spacy folk-psychedelic framework that flit on the edge of incomprehensibility, sometimes overlaid with outdoor noises of wind, rain, dogs, and birds. Although this is mildly pleasant and pretty, and would serve as adequate background music for rambles through the woods, there really isn't much substance to the songs. The impression is more of friends -- sitting around a campfire, if you will, or on a porch or in a living room -- feeling their way around chords and (often wordless) vocal harmonies for their own pleasure, as if it's a casual jam session or warmup rather than an endeavor that's going to result in an album. It's lo-fi as well, and though there are seeds of a release with some charm here, it really is more underdeveloped than a finished full-length work should sound.

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