Animal Collective / Vashti Bunyan - Prospect Hummer (Cover Artwork)

Animal Collective / Vashti Bunyan

Prospect Hummer (2005)

Fat Cat

I'm hard pressed to think of a band that better deserves the title of "you either love 'em or you hate 'em" than Animal Collective (feel free to turn the forum into name-droppings of more deserving bands). Their psychedelic weirdness somehow mixes perfectly with their incredible pop songwriting chops, reaching a band apex with last year's Sung Tongs.

The album opens with a delicate female voice singing "still going, still going, still going on." Wait, this is a new voice. These vocals don't sound like anything on any previous Animal Collective albums, you think to yourself. The voice actually belongs to Vashti Bunyan, whose last full album was released on vinyl -- when vinyl was actually practical. For more on Vashti, see her 1970 release, Just Another Diamond Day, or seek out her more recent duets with Devendra Banhart.

Bunyan takes lead vocals on this EP. While this does diminish some of the Collective's initial quirky charm, Bunyan is nowhere near out of place. Songs like "It's You" and "I Remember Learning How to Dive" are your typical Animal Collective fare, and if you are a fan of the band there is nothing stopping you from downloading it on iTunes for $3.96. It's very short, really just a taste to satiate fans, I suppose. There are better counterparts to all of these songs on their previous records, but this EP can still stand up on its own. "Baleen Sample" offers a dense mimic of "Visiting Friends." "It's You" sounds like a calmed sequel to "Mouth Wooed Her."

If you love ‘em, check out this EP. If you hate ‘em, do not check out this EP.