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With his new side project Slasher Flicks, which includes ex-Dirty Projectors member Angel Deradoorian and the ex-drummer of Ponytail Jeremy Human, acclaimed Animal Collective front man Avey Tare (David Portner) applies his trademark noise-laden sound to a campy horror theme similar to that of "Monster Mash" and Michael Jackson's "Thriller."
Their debut album Enter the Slasher House is an idiosyncratically Avey Tare album, but derives enough of its sound from outside influences to take on a distinctive personality of its own.
All of the songs really do feel like the attractions you might pass by during a walk through a carnival in cartoon hell (doubly so when listened to alongside the perfectly complementary, neon-colored visuals which Avey's sister Abbey Portner created for the album). The freaked-out synths and guitars feel like a dizzying array of lights on a midway packed with snickering, mischievous creatures. At the same time, easy-to-follow rhythms ensure that this is very much an enjoyable pop album. This is most evident on the relatively straightforward single "Little Fang," which features a smooth disco beat and a Jim Henson Muppet in its charming music video.
However, while the tracks are catchy, the noise does feel a bit muddled at times without the subtler details that turn repetitive cacophony into beautifully ordered textures on full Animal Collective releases. This is especially the case with the song "The Outlaw," which ends with repeated screaming similar to that of Strawberry Jam's "For Reverend Green," but in more of a tossed-up pile than deliberately arranged layers. The sort of nuances that Avey does best do appear in the synthesized transitions at the ends of songs, which flow seamlessly between tracks like dead leaves in the wind between plots of haunted real estate. It's a shame that this level of detail doesn't occur as much throughout the songs proper, but Avey's songwriting still carries through to produce an undeniably fun and unique record.
Favorite tracks: Little Fang, Roses on the Window, Modern Days E