Avey Tare – Eucalyptus Album Review

An inconvenient illness that no one was expecting


 July 21, 2017


Far away in a mysterious planet a man’s playing with his guitar, mixing sounds and trying to figure out the meaning behind this mess of a world. The sounds were starting to evoke him forbidden pleasure and unknown feelings, but suddenly something else came up, deconcentrating him. He began all over again. Unfortunately, he tried too hard, searching for something that might be imperceptible even for the human soul. That man’s name is Avey Tare and this time, he failed.

Animal Collective’s Dave Michael Portner, better known as Avey Tare, launched his new album “Eucalyptus” via Domino, the independent English label best known for artists and bands like Caribou, Four Tet, Elliot Smith, Robert Wyatt, Franz Ferdinand and Artic Monkeys. Domino Records has left us speechless many times thanks to its incredible artists and so has Avey Tare, so what happened this time?

Portner’s bandmate Deakin recorded the entire album, featuring artists like Angel Deradoorian, Jessica Kenney and Eyvind Kang. Apart from what he’s done with Animal Collective this work follows his side project Slasher Flicks ( “Enter the Slasher House”) and his 2010 solo album “Down There.

Unfortunately Eucalyptus seems to be naturally tangled. Producing an album based on a deeper analysis of life, often results in an excruciating effort to appear as an anguished human being.  On the other hand his last album “Down There” was very introspective, but not presumptuous. The tracks emerged as dark as his soul, with a pulse that was introverted and irregular. Being one of the members of Animal Collective it was quite odd, but still believable, contrary to his new album. In fact the big, buzzy beats of Merriweather Post Pavilion have nothing to do with the confusing pace of these new tracks. If Down There was a piecework meant to distance from Animal Collective typical sound, Eucalyptus has completely succeed in doing so.

Eucalyptus is simply too much. “Season High” is the first track of this intricate album and sums up how the whole record evolves. It starts with a comforting voice, transporting us to a warm beach day trip, suddenly changing into something else, and again and again, leaving us with a sense of disorientation. The beats and the effects are way too exploited, mixing rhythms that often simply don’t belong together. Whatever he was trying to tells us, he wasn’t able to deliver his message successfully. When an album isn’t homogenous is one thing, but when each and every song is messed up it’s just a big flop. 

However the record is able to get the listener to reflect on many aspects of life. For instance, it makes you think that maybe we are too pretentious and always expect to understand everything. Music is the pulsing heart of the world, and we deserve to feel involved with it. What’s better than the rush of mixed feelings pulsing through your veins, winning their way into your heart? This time the rush stopped just at the beginning of the wrist. This album is an inconvenient illness that no one was expecting.

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