Arriving a year after his band's colorful, ebullient Painting With LP, the second solo album by Animal Collective's Avey Tare (aka David Portner) takes a sharp turn from the sound of his group -- or at least from their post-Campfire Songs output. With a languid, sylvan atmosphere and majority-acoustic demeanor, it's a departure not only from his band, but, to a lesser degree, from 2010's Down There and his Slasher Flicks project. On the home-recorded (with Deakin) Eucalyptus, Tare fills the post of calm raconteur rather than outré hook courier, journeying cross-country along psychedelic side paths, particularly on the meandering opening tracks. His first solo compositions since relocating to L.A., Tare has said that the West Coast's natural environment was an inspiration for the record. Incorporating samples, field recordings, and guests such as Slasher Flicks' Angel Deradoorian and avant-garde artists Eyvind Kang and Jessika Kenney, some of its 15 songs are fleshier or trippier than the rest, but the tone is still restrained. The two-part "Lunch Out of Order" delves into the more experimental territory with samples, electronics, and what sound like found objects and drum components among its textured noise. In contrast, a warped version of catchy appears on the syncopated "Jackson 5," a song with tighter structure and a hummable melody. It makes use of acoustic guitar, rudimentary drums, light-handed effects, and harmony vocals, so still holds to an ostensibly organic palette. It's followed by another contrast, the murky, droning "Dr Aw One for J." With a playing time of over an hour, and a reflective, more often than not formless complexion, even acknowledging its subtle whimsy and California roots, Eucalyptus goes by like a long drive through the plains, rewarding the patient and attentive.
AllMusic Review by Marcy Donelson