The garish, densely layered cover art for Animal Collective’s latest album, Centipede Hz, is just the first sign that the Baltimore-bred Psych Pop crew was intent on shifting creative gears this time out. The anticipated follow-up to 2009’s melody-infested Merriweather Post Pavilion — which topped seemingly every year-ending poll on the planet, including Pazz & Jop’s and Pitchfork’s — seems intent on moving beyond its predecessor’s sunnier disposition from the get-go. The curiously titled “Moonjock” kicks things off in jarring fashion, employing a collision of sounds that recalls the band’s experimental beginnings — cymbals crash and organs thrash with a force largely foreign to the more spaced-out charms of MPP.
The quartet gallops through 10 more proudly unkempt tunes, highlighted by “Today’s Supernatural,” which sounds like Stereolab on fast-forward and bad acid; “Father Time,” a groggy head-trip that brings to mind Jane’s Addiction if Dave Navarro had channeled Gary Numan instead of Jimi Hendrix; and the Reggae-inflected “Rosie Oh,” one of the few instances of Centipede slowing down to enjoy its often disorienting wake.
ANIMAL COLLECTIVE performs Tuesday, March 12 with Dan Deacon at Madison Theater in Covington. Buy tickets, check out performance times and get venue details here.