Baby, it may be getting cold outside but there ain’t no snow on Animal Collective’s horizon. Quite the opposite in fact, old sport, as Baltimore’s favorite experimental pop group takes us down south for the winter in high grandparent fashion with what is no doubt one of the finest tracks of 2015, “FloriDada.” Such marks the first single from their highly anticipated record, Painting With, set for release by way of Domino Records on February 19th. With African-inspired tribal drums, psychedelic, synthetic swells, and playful Beach Boysian harmonies, this single marks a triumphant return to the Animal Collective last heard on 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, bypassing, if I may say what just about everybody’s probably thinking, their exhausting and overwrought Centipede Hz release in 2012. This is no mere coincidence, however, as the band’s current lineup consists of Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), and Geologist (Brian Weitz), the same triumvirate responsible for Animal Collective’s aforementioned 2009 masterwork. Deakin (Josh Dibb), who participated on their 2012 effort, is notably absent.
On “FloriDada” Animal Collective once again succeed where most experimental pop hopefuls and veterans alike fail, managing to be innovative without sacrificing the “pop” element. As heard on much of Merriweather Post Pavilion and more recently on such Panda Bear singles as “Boys Latin” and “Mr Noah,” AC intricately weaves a variety of vocal phrasings, instrumental runs, and mechanical bleeps and blips into a sophisticated sonic tapestry that comes off as both effortless and fun on account of their mastery of craft. Here the hooks are plentiful and as whimsical as anything I’ve heard in modern music, bound to draw a smile from even the stoniest of cynics. Hell, the lyrics don’t disappoint either, painting hysterical character portraits like “Frankenstein java with touches of Prada” amongst others akin to what one might expect from a Vampire Weekend release. Roy Orbison and his “Blue Bayou” get a shout out, too. (As an Orbison fan, I feel I had to include that.) In any case, if “FloriDada” is any indication of the record to come, I’m sure most all of us will be smiling gleefully come February 19th. A damn fine track. Over and out.