Now that another lauded Animal Collective album is in the bag, the four-song stopgap emerges as usual. However, because even their side projects enjoyed unprecedented attention in 2007, the arrival of the Water Curses EP feels just a tad premature. Even for the folk-noise quartet’s hungriest followers, and especially for non-fans, three boldfaced releases—psychedelic-rock masterstroke Strawberry Jam, Avey Tare and wife Khia Brekkan’s gobbledygook loop-fest Pullhair Rubeye, and Panda Bear’s “sane Brian Wilson” impression on the band-eclipsing Person Pitch—made for a lot of Animal Collectivity to digest last year.
So if Water Curses‘ four songs feel like market saturation, be glad it’s of a pleasurable, submarine-probing-the-depths- of-bubbling-bong-liquid variety. The steel-drum-addled and phaser-fueled title track is one of three piping-hot leftovers from the Strawberry Jam sessions: “I want to be like water and slip into your throat and make you feel alive and good,” Tare sings lightning-fast over the song’s bright island rhythms, and for the most part he succeeds. Gurgling, dripping, and squirting fluids also enliven the other sound collages, which all slow the tempo down to a crawl. Between tabla beats, “Cobwebs” shakes the spirits out of itself before building to a purposeful close; “Seal Eyeing” never quite loses its sogginess. And somehow, the three-chord organ part and Beastie Boys–style maniacal laughter are enough to make “Street Flash” the winner on this grower of a collection. By submerging listeners gently, Water Curses never goes off the deep end.