It seems that the reflex critical response to any new Animal Collective release is to call it "their most accessible recording ever." While they've obviously raised production values for Merriweather Post Pavillion - the sound of guitars has been eclipsed by a sampledelic woosh and gurgle - Animal Collective fans will be relieved to find the group keeping a safe distance from mainstream pap.
Layered vocals carry bold melodies over frequently shifting keyboard textures as if they were shooting for a Pet Sounds of their own, but they're no Beach Boys. They rely too heavily on repetition to avoid having to come up with memorable choruses. Even if there are no obvious choices for ass-shaking singles here like, say, Grass, it all hangs together quite nicely.
This is definitely an album designed for the iPod generation, recorded with repeated headphone listening rather than stadium rocking in mind.
Top track: Lion In A Coma