Animal Collective - My Girls

Tim Miller 22/03/2009

Rating: 4.5/5

'Adobe slats'. For ages I've been trying to work out if they really are the words to a chorus line in Animal Collective's new single, taken from their astonishing album Merriweather Post Pavilion, and what the hell they mean. The piece of paper attached with My Girls CD carries the line ”I just want four walls and adobe slats for my girls”. So my ears aren't failing me, at least. And, put the query into Google, the entire first page of results are links to forums, blogs and websites full of people who are wondering exactly the same thing!

That confusion shouldn't detract from the gloriously laid-back bliss of this single, though. Dawning on the listener with whirling synthetic loops, the vocal motifs shared between Panda Bear and Avey Tare fanfare dozily until, with dragging-yourself-out-of-bed reluctance, the call and response is organised into something a bit more upbeat by the entering percussion. Repeating the earlier motifs with more urgency, the uplifting harmonised melodies migrate to a new plane with perfect timing, handclaps punctuating the shimmering backdrop and leading into the chorus with that confusing line.

A song about appreciating and being happy with basic things in life, the cascading harmonies of the standout chorus are near life-affirming themselves: the euphoria peaks as the rest of the song pauses for a moment and the vocals wash over your ears. In all nearly six minutes long, My Girls's paradisiacal ambience seems still to zip by. Best listened to among the surroundings of Merriweather Post pavilion - where My Girls can sound almost ordinary by comparison - it is nevertheless a single of bright bliss, of summery pop beauty, against which many current artists' output feels simply backwards.

Incidentally, 'adobe slats', it would appear, are a form of roof tile used fairly commonly in Portugal. I doubt even the Portuguese have used them in song lyrics before.

Released 16th March 2009, My Girls is available as a digital download.