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a visual album by Animal Collective and director Danny Perez

April 25, 2010
Grand Central, Miami, FL

On a cool night in downtown Miami, Animal Collective fans lined up outside the new venue, Grand Central, for the exclusive screening of the film, ODDSAC. A four-year collaboration between Animal Collective and director Danny Perez, ODDSAC is the band’s effort to combine their already visual music with the elements of film.

Critics have described ODDSAC as an experimental film with psychedelic influences, namely a bad acid trip, but that barely even scratches the surface. While Hollywood it is not, squeezing it into the conformity of a genre will only serve to confuse rather than satisfy its audience. Although Animal Collective collaborated with Perez on music videos for “Summertime Clothes” and “Who Could Win a Rabbit?”ODDSAC is not a music video. Instead, it’s a “visual album” where music tells the stories, however abstract they may be, alongside the images, as opposed to just playing in the background.

The first part of the film was a collision of images constantly crashing into each other: spinning fire, oozing black goo, weird bloody creatures. It was dark and creepy but mainly because a slow and repetitive drone with springy washing machine sounds set the eerie mood. As the music picked up, the images followed suit. The visuals became a jumble of fire and goo, catapulting across the screen, chaotic, but with an inherent rhythm, almost like the film was setting itself on fire. Abrupt sounds scared the audience, jarring them out of the psychedelic haze and causing them to jump and look around nervously.

As the film progressed, the mood was constantly in flux. It became calmer, as a man rowed across black water and the voice of Animal Collective member Noah Lennox emerged. He sang about “treading water with no target” over animal and insect sounds. Images faded to white as specs of light appeared, pulsing and changing color, constantly moving and multiplying like cells. Then a man with long hair walked across an expanse of rocks, carrying drums, one at a time. We never saw his face, but dreamy voices surrounded him as he banged on the drums, the beats seeming to conjure up an angry spirit.

Colorful images flashed and sputtered violently. It was like being trapped in a room with no doors or windows, and many of the audience members looked anxious.

Afterwards, colorful images flashed and sputtered violently. It was like being trapped in a room with no doors or windows, and many of the audience members looked anxious. The sensory overload calmed temporarily as a vampire crept across a forest while a camping family ate roasted marshmallows that turned them into sticky monsters. The vampire devoured the youngest and then burned in the sun, a bubbling, smoking mess melting to the bottom of a lake. The film ended with a bizarre food fight between several women, which might have been erotic in any other context, but here it only resembled something out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

After the film, many fans were slightly alarmed because of ODDSAC’s dark tendencies. During the Q&A with the audience, Animal Collective’s Deakin spoke about how all the members except Lennox are very influenced by horror films, especially their soundtracks. “We’ve always had dark elements even in our poppiest material, but now we have a visual medium to represent the images in our heads,” he said.

Animal Collective has always produced very visual albums, particularly Merriweather Post Pavilion, but the images imagined by fans seem to be much more pleasant than those of the band and Perez. While fans and critics alike seem to either worship ODDSAC or are slightly turned off by it, the film’s controversy can only help Animal Collective’s continued success as indie’s weirdest band.


Review and Photos by Liana Minassian

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