Paul Carr: Animal Collective follow up last year’s Painting With album with more of the same on new EP The Painters. Like much of their best work, “Kinda Bonkers” is bursting with ideas. Built on tabla percussion, see-saw keyboards and parallel vocals that bounce, ping and collide, the band throw everything they can in to see what cooks. All of these different ingredients are whipped up into a customary, trippy, psychedelic sponge. The whole thing is as irrepressible and energetic as you would expect, but it somehow feels more rounded. More straightforward and undemanding, never feeling like it might collapse under the weight of the hooks and melodies the band has crammed on every tier. [8/10]
Steve Horowitz: Who isn’t kind of crazy these days. To accept the world as it is as normal defies logic. Animal Collective understand that they don’t understand. WTF! We can delight in sensations and share our feelings. The music suggests that deep down there is another reality—of spirit—that can be summoned through repetition and breathing. Others may think one is nuts for doing so—but there is something pretty about living in oneself, and this may be the only way to survive a reality without love as a shared value. [7/10]
Adriane Pontecorvo: The distress is palpable on “Kinda Bonkers”, an attempt to make sense of an anxious world that is still constantly turning. Mellow tablas clash with fretful vocals, and the improbable result is catchy pop music. It feels era-appropriate, jittery and clinging to ideals (“unity of all kind” is a repeated phrase in the chorus) in the face of all that is bonkers. Or maybe it’s not all that deep; it could just be one hell of a rocky acid trip. In any case, Animal Collective’s freak flag flies enough to keep things pretty interesting, even if things do tread into cheesy neo-hippie territory at times. [6/10]
John Bergstrom: “Kinda Bonkers” has that chill, good-vibes feel that you might associate with Merriweather Post Pavillion or Fall Be Kind; in other words, the “more accessible” nodes of the Animal Collective universe. If anyone can get away with a boilerplate mantra like “unity of all kind”, they can. And don’t hold it against them that they chose the most Animal Collective title of all titles in the universe. It doesn’t get more Animal Collective than this, man. [7/10]
Mike Schiller: On one hand, it’s nice to hear Animal Collective pull them away from the “variations on digital soup” hole they’ve been digging themselves for the last year with a song that recalls in spirit—if not quite in execution—the Animal Collective of 12 or 13 years ago. On the other hand, the song’s title makes a promise that “Kinda Bonkers” doesn’t keep. It wanders, and it meanders, and it’s rather pleasant and catchy and, shockingly, somewhat boring. Maybe we can’t expect Animal Collective to constantly be bouncing off the walls and challenging us with exciting experimentation, but we should be able to remember what their song sounded like ten minutes after we hear it, especially when a first line like “Life is so french toast to me” gives it such a sizable head start. [5/10]
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