Review: Avey Tare | Down There

Paw Tracks (2010)
By CARRIE BATTAN  |  October 26, 2010
3.0 3.0 Stars


It's usually unfair to frame the solo efforts of an artist by the larger organ he or she typically operates within — but it's to the credit of Dave Portner, a/k/a Avey Tare, that his debut solo album feels like a very natural extension of Animal Collective's overarching brand of psychedelia. Down There harnesses the core duality upon which the AC empire is built: a warm and pure pop æsthetic folded harmoniously into layers of murky swirls and drips. By his lonesome, though, Portner has upped the ratio of murk to melody — most of the disc sounds as though he and his synths had been submerged in swampy waters. The eerie, amorphous maze of echoed vocals, chanting, and slushy reverb feels overwrought and can make for a taxing listen. But when Portner does flesh out his melodies to match his sludge — as in the streamlined pulses of the single "Lucky 1," and the marching synths paired with double-timed vocals of "Ghost of Book" — he shows how effective a well-deployed double-edged sword can be.

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