(Note: We are required by the Laws of Indie Music to talk gushingly and at great length about Animal Collective's new record, the highly-anticipated, top secret Merriweather Post Pavilion. You may be sick of hearing about the madly creative band by now, but here is our legally obligated blog post.)

(It's not the computer monitor. It's you.)
"We're only a week into the new year and already we have an album that demands and rewards repeat, complete listening. What album stands a chance of replacing this one at #1 of 2009?"
So sayeth Stereogum about the new Animal Collective album, Merriweather Post Pavilion, out today on vinyl and due on CD in two weeks.

Huh. Already the best album of the year? That kind of blanket statement—even if done in the wishy-washy form of a question ("Is it?") seems irresponsibly shortsighted—but Stereogum certainly isn't alone in their effusive praise; indeed, all of the blog-o-nets are collapsing over themselves in orgiastic glee. However, I've only just dipped my toe into the new record, and I like it, sure. It's good. It's nice. It's got that warming, airy quality that cropped up on Panda Bear's solo album. Kind of like a nice soft pillow. It's a damn sight better than Strawberry Jam, and not as interesting or as exhilirating as Feels.

This is the sort of hoopla the virtualsphere inter-web is excellent at perpetuating. In fact, this kind of hot-breath anticipation used to happen pretty regularly; a song or an album would leak, people would flip, and then the album would limply come out, often to a more measured reaction. I kind of thought we were past that point. So maybe then, the new Animal Collective is just that good?

I'm skeptical. I do like it; it's pleasant, and kind of "aw shucks" cute, in a Wilson Brothers kind of way. In fact, it's downright pretty. But the strength of AC's best stuff has been a bizarre, stilted momentum that the new songs, in all their pop-friendliness, nearly do away with entirely. What are your thoughts, fair readers? I know for a fact many of you adore it.

If you don't already have the slab of vinyl on your turntable—or simply don't do vinyl—here's track 1, "In the Flowers." You can also hear track 2, "My Girls" on the Animal Collective MySpace page (and I am confident you can find the rest of the album online without too much trouble).


Animal Collective - "In the Flowers"

Your thoughts, please.