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I agree with you, Kevin. MPP took the advantage of an indie wave that would have made anything AC put out that wasn't a disaster a masterpiece. And MPP has a few amazing songs in it that could impress the casual listener who heard about the buzz of this band for a long while. Admittedly, I have more to explore from that record.
But I'm very impressed about how tight and dynamic Strawberry Jam is. It's not frontloaded with the best songs... and I think it captures the peak of the band as it was trailblazing the indie scene. It's the essential record as far as I'm concerned.
AC are an odd band for me, because Sung Tongs and Feels are really difficult for me to listen to. The first record has some moments but is often grating, and the second, while having some of the best AC songs on my playlist (Did You See the Words, Grass) also drags a whole lot during the last half of the album. MPP has elements of that flawed album dynamic, but it's still pretty excellent.
They are exploring areas in music that I never thought possible. I've been making music for a while, and whenever I am looking for a new edge or inspiration I turn to Animal Collective or Miles Davis. I think they are going to continue to create amazing music. Panda Bear's solo "Tomboy" is going to be a huge release for me. I was, like so many others, a huge fan of "Person Pitch". If they continue to evolve and keep their growing fan-base, then it is very possible that their back catalog will be combed over more thoroughly in the future. I just hope "Strawberry Jam" doesn't go under appreciated for to long.
Strawberry Jam has grown in stature for me this past year, while AC's earlier releases (not the super early ones, but Sung Tongs and Feels) have really sunk. I don't know if its the electronic nature of SJ and MPP compared to the freak folk stuff.
strawberry jam is one of my favorites.
I must chime in and say I dislike this band. I don't think they've written anything as moving as Yellow House, let alone far better stuff like Moon and Antarctica or Kid A. They aren't as experimental as say, Battles, or a lot of electronica either.
Throw me in the camp that just doesn't get it. They're not weird enough for me to find them interesting, and their pop moments just don't hit me. I can enjoy (parts of) a handful of songs - Leaf House, Grass, Peacebone, and My Girls, but that's about it.
They're not for everyone, but to say they aren't very experimental is obviously a cry for help.
SUGGESTION: (If you haven't already) Check out Campfire Songs, and Spirit They've Gone. Panda's Solo Person Pitch might also appeal to the part of you that enjoys Yellow House.
Well, I am basing my opinion off of AC's last 4 albums, which do not strike me as that experimental. I have heard that their pre-Sung Tongs material is more "out there", so to speak.
I actually thought Person Pitch was decent, but really repetitive. I'll check out the other two. Thanks!