June 07, 2005

Animal Collective "Prospect Hummer"

Imagine the honor that comes with being a part of the return of a musical enigma. It probably goes without saying that those loveable experimentalists in Animal Collective felt a tremendous amount of pride in being a part of legendary folk singer Vashti Bunyan's first lengthy record release in thirty-five years. (We won't repeat her story here, in hopes you will visit her website and learn more about her.) Turning your back on the music world is a major decision, especially after only one album release--but it's probably an understatement to assume that the only thing more exciting than the inital rush of emotions surrounding your debut record is learning nearly three decades later that you're a cult hero, and that you've got more of a receptive audience now than you did when you first appeared. Thus, it's safe to assume that Prospect Hummer is an exciting project for all parties.

Though the Prospect Hummer EP runs for only fifteen brief minutes, it expands and overwhelms in a way that lasts well beyond the running time.Admittedly, this writer has yet to hear Bunyan's sole release, Just Another Diamond Day, but this EP is as fine an introduction as necessary. The breathy "It's You" sounds otherworldly; accompanied by Animal Collective's gentle, heavenly guitars sound like cascading water falling from a heavenly waterfall. The jaunty title track finds Animal Collective revisiting the sound that made Sung Tongs so rewarding, and Bunyan's singing feels quite natural within the confines of their style, and the simple, upbeat "I Remeber Learning How To Dive" is a straightforward folk number, quite enjoyable and innocent. The only moment that's not particularly essential to the collection is the sole track without Bunyan, the electronica instrumental piece "Baleen Sample." While it's lovely in its own way, it distracts, but it doesn't take anything from Project Hummer's main attraction.

Prospect Hummer arrives on the heels of the news that Bunyan is currently completing her second album. The times have changed and her music is now being heard and has helped to inspire a genre of musicians, and that's a great honor. Though it's not yet known whether or not she works with Animal Collective on this project, this little EP is proof that the two parties should work together again. This is a beautiful, excellent EP that will satisfy fans of both Animal Collective and Bunyan.

--Joseph Kyle

Vashti Bunyan Website: http://www.anotherday.co.uk
Animal Collective Website: http://www.paw-tracks.com
Label Website: http://www.fat-cat.com

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