If your ears are still ringing after Centipede Hz, Animal Collective has some newer material that’s a little more subdued. “Crimson” is being released as a B-Side to Centipede Hz’s bright, bubbling track, “Applesauce.”
While “Applesauce” seems to rev up at the start, accelerating into a shimmering combustion, “Crimson” begins awkward and dysfunctional, sounding more like a tape rewinding. Steel drums pound discordantly as Avey Tare’s vocals pierce through the song, sounding especially downcast.
Tare is at the forefront of “Crimson,” leading the melody as various whirrs, mews and a steady drumbeat march alongside. The song is coherent yet off, tropical but overcast.
Because of “Crimson” ’s unremarkable melody, the song’s real strength is derived from its cryptic but captivating lyrics. Tare shrieks and moans about confusion, death and apathy.
Animal Collective allows “Crimson” to writhe for three minutes, building to a final release of poppy goodness. “Now my heart is taking over,” Tare declares, followed by a playful, airy succession of keys. “Crimson” is unsettling, murky with noise pollution, but ends with a break in the clouds.