A cool band goes back to the basics

Animal Collective is an indie, artsy band that’s managed to hit it big, with both fervent followers and mainstream acclaim. But its success didn’t stop its original label, Catsup Plate, from closing and an early EP becoming out of print. In order not to see its early efforts disappear, the band has reissued 2003’s excellent Campfire Songs (available 1/26).

Campfire Songs—also briefly the band’s name—is a five-track acoustic set recorded in a single take on a screened-in porch studio, with the hum of the outdoors as quiet accompaniment. In this stripped-down form—so different from Animal Collective’s electric sound—strummy tracks like “Doggy” and “Queen in my Pictures” sound sweetly sincere, as does “Two Corvettes,” which starts with several minutes of stark guitar and eerie howling. It sounds like affectation until, suddenly, you realize that maybe they’re just trying to stay warm.

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