(2010, Paw Tracks)
RIYL = Animal Collective
It feels weird calling Avey Tare underrated, but I’ll still say it. I mean, when compared to Animal Collective bandmate Panda Bear and the golden halo that critics have crowned atop his head, Avey Tare might as well have been handed an empty KFC chicken bucket for a hat. Look what happened to Pullhair Rubeye (of which I will take every opportunity to champion in its original, reversed form – sooooo good). Down There isn’t getting hammered quite so bad as that album, but still, people seem a bit iffy about throwing weight towards it. For me, it’s not perfect, but still really great. Glum yet playful, muddy as all get out, and filled with all manner of lurking Down-There-ness. Avey really hit that swamp feeling perfectly because Down There feels like tromping mudded through a dark, sludgy stream, stringy slings of foliage milking the headspace above and yellow eyes peppering the darkness from left to right. I’ve heard people cherry picking the last couple songs as the only high points, but that feels like a rushed assessment. Sure they’re great, of course. But so is the mid section and beginning – simply needs a bit more time to creep in apparently (though, honestly, I found it immediately enchanting/haunting). I love Avey’s wiry vocals, the monstered effects he adds to them, and his general left field approach. As much as I love Panda Bear (and I do) Avey is what really sells me on Animal Collective (I suppose we shouldn’t forget Geologist and Deakin either). But Down There is a winner fer sure. Check it.