Animal Collective partnered with video artist Danny Perez to release a "visual album," Oddsac.
Oddsac is the kind of lucid dream you’d have if you were in a drug-induced stupor while somebody channel surfs next to you at full volume. The 53-minute film is a collection of scenes that take too long – a family whose toasted marshmallows overtake their faces, a chaotic food fight, a lonely field of fire dancers – interspersed with glorified TV static and psychedelic screensavers.
Non-narrative filmmaking and experimental music are just fine – I just can’t stand it when everybody pretends they’re in on the self-indulgent joke. Listen up, hipsters: the emperor is naked. This movie is awful. (Check out the trailer below.)
Throughout the nightmarish scenes, where band members wash brains in a river or wander through the woods dressed like vampires, I couldn’t help wondering what the venue for a movie like this could be. Are Animal Collective fans going to pull out this DVD in 10 years and revel in the magic of its psychedelia? Doubtful. It certainly isn’t the kind of thing a typical fan of their latest album, Merriweather Post Pavillion, would enjoy. Nothing in this film seems culturally relevant beyond a certain belief that bull-headed pretension is enough to win over the bearded and blogging masses.
Aurally, if not musically, the most abstract moments of the film are perfectly matched with the visuals (can’t wait for the soundtrack, featuring “TV Static” and “Song for Weird Psychedelic Bearded Face”). But the moments of song in Oddsac are like coming up for air. Animal Collective’s killer harmonies are exponentially sweeter here, amid a score that otherwise poses a full-scale digital attack on your ears.
To be honest, the melodies are the only straightforward part of Oddsac. General themes like chaos and horror are easy enough to touch upon, but the pervading feeling is that the people involved in the film spent a lot of time in the woods together and emerged without the key element of great art – a great idea.