The love-em-or-hate-em New York conglomerate Animal Collective return with the experimental and challenging “Strawberry Jam.”
Trading traditional song structure for chaotic freak outs and droney fuzzrock, the album’s silliness belies its more serious sonic ambitions. Suffice to say, those not already on board with the band’s previous work may find much of the music insufferable. Employing toyish instrumentation and childlike choruses, lead single “Peacebone,” with its minute-long noise burst opening, and “Winter Wonderland” are bouncy, infectious anthems that stand out from the pack. The band can come up with some truly memorable melodies, but they are constantly buried in a stream of self-indulgent noise and musical weirdness-for-weirdness’ sake.