Animal Collective

Some treasures are better left unearthed, lest the cold light of day reveal them to be something less than life-changing and invaluable. Originally released in a 300-count, LP-only batch in 2002, Hollinndagain scrapbooks selected live performances in Jersey City, Austin, Nashville, and NYC that same year by a pre-Pazz-and-Jop-charting Animal Collective, whose best years lay ahead of them. These seven songs — never refined and laid down in a studio — have an overly rudimentary, open-ended feel, missing the psychedelic Lord of the Flies bullseye highs that earlier albums like Danse Manatee and Spirit They're Gone Spirit They've Vanished hit. Here spare, teeter-tottering keyboard melodies claw their way free from crawling-maggot hives of chemical-reaction noise; bolt suddenly from atop badly recorded, sloppy, galloping drums; or wither and burble en route to nowheresville while the boys whoop, holler, and excitedly beat their chests. This disc is for completists only, and even then, maybe not. — Ray Cummings

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