Hot on the heels of 2005's critically acclaimed Feels, Animal Collective's British label Fat Cat has released a tasty little treat for their fans. Grass is a two disc set, containing the single for "Grass" and a DVD with some of the band's videos. "Grass" is a catchy number that was as breezy as a cool Fall afternoon in the country, and it's simply a wonderful song. The other two songs pale somewhat in comparison, but that's because they're a bit different. "Must Be Treeman" starts with a looped drone, which then gives way to a languid instrumental passage that is built the muffled sounds of people making noises and a sampled Pepperidge Farm commercial. It's an interesting number, though it is, ultimately, b-side material. The final new song on the record is a more upbeat number, "Fickle Cycle," and it wouldn't have been out of place on Feels.
The DVD portion of the set is the collection's real draw. The disc contains four videos, and each video shows a different facet of the band. The video for "Grass" is a kaleidoscopic acid trip set to music, a swirling rainbow of visual delights that fits quite nicely with the aural majesty of the song. The video for Sung Tongs' "Who Could Win A Rabbit?" is next, and it's also a hoot--a depiction of the children's story of the tortoise and the hare. Up next is a video for "Fickle Cycle," which consists of nothing more than clips of the band working and having fun in the recording studio--and it shows the band just enjoying themselves, even as they make 'arty' music. Then, the final song, "Lake Damage," is a live performance from their Fall 2004 tour. It's an interesting number to close with, and it highlights the caveat that goes with seeing the band live, in that they take their music in directions their records simply do not go. This is a loud, overpowering number; it's harsh and abrasive and tribal and it's a stunning and shocking departure from the band that makes pastoral experimental folk.
All in all, not a bad package!