‘Painting With’ Animal Collective and the Infectious Pop Hooks of “FloriDada”


Membership in the Animal Collective is fluid. With its members taking self-imposed sabbaticals to produce films and various side projects, absence from an Animal Collective tour or record is not necessarily indicative of a member’s departure. So it shouldn’t worry fans that Josh Gibbs (a.k.a. Deakin/Deacon/Deaken) isn’t on Painting With, the new Animal Collective album due out on Domino on February 19; that’s just par for the course. Sadly, he’ll have to do without one of the sweet portraits that will cover the collective’s followup to 2012’s Centipede Hz. And today they’ve released “FloriDada,” the new album’s first single.

Painting With was recorded at EastWest Studios in Hollywood. “FloriDada” — our first real taste of the new material — is a bouncy pop jam featuring AC members Brian Weitz (Geologist), Dave Portner (a.k.a. Avey Tare) and Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear). On his Instagram page, Portner referred to the track’s name as a “song, an idea, an ideal.” Mmmhmm. Portner and Lennox both share lead vocals, with simultaneous and competing verses that fit together like folded fingers; depending on which voice you focus on, a different verse takes shape. The pair throw the pre-chorus back and forth at each other until the repetitive earworm chorus of “Flori-Da-da, Flori-Da-da” kicks in.

The single is meant to be a preview of the album’s concept, focusing on art and humanity. It will be released with three album covers, featuring painted portraits of each AC member that worked on the record, by painter Brian DeGraw. “FloriDada” was officially released today, November 30, but the band recently made news previewing the first single in the terminal at Baltimore-Washington International Airport. We could spend weeks unpacking the relative abstraction of the track’s lyrics, but the themes and subjects, led by our country’s most famous phallic peninsula, Florida. Of all the states in the U.S., Florida might make the strongest case for Dada associations; the absurdity of Florida Man, the garishness of Art Basel; Florida is the anti-art that is itself a work of art; the ultimate readymade. Duchamp would be proud.

Check out “FloriDada” below: