Animal Collective's first release since the remarkable 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' earlier this year isn't as far-reaching as some of the songs on that album - but it's still a short collection of tunes to keep the cogs of your brain well-oiled.
Where do you go once you've made one of the Albums of the Decade, according to just about every poll, list and hipster website running? Animal Collective - the Baltimore band whose astonishing 'Merriweather Post Pavilion' knocked the proverbial stuffing out of anyone with an appreciation for inventive, eclectic and otherworldly experimental indie music - aren't the kind of musicians to sit on their laurels and simply enjoy the huge acclaim that their eighth studio album brought with it.
The prolific band's first release since 'Merriweather' isn't as initially bombastic and psychedelic as that album was, but these five tracks nevertheless act as a strange journey through eccentric, aggravated landscapes and seep under your skin after several listens.
Multi-parted opener 'Graze' initially evokes imagery of a witches' cove in a magical forest before switching to a bizarre sort of folk rave, replete with frantic flute-playing; 'On a Highway' is a more barren composition that sounds like a whispered incantation over a metal-and-glass body, as Avey Tare's disembodied vocals announce "On a highway, there are some workers pissing / It starts my bladder itching".
The most haunting of these five tracks, however, is undoubtedly 'What Would I Want? Sky', a song that epitomises the shimmering euphoria that Animal Collective's music can often incite. A gentle clank-and-shudder intro makes way for an easygoing, glistening summery arrangement that's wrapped around a sample from The Grateful Dead's 'Unbroken Chain' - the first song to sample a song from the legendary band's back catalogue.
It's not their most essential release to date, but is a worthwhile stopgap as we wait with our noses pressed up against the glass in anticipation of what the oddball quartet will come up with next.