Enter the Slasher House is high on its own explosive energy. Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks — the new experimental band that includes Animal Collective’s Avey Tare, Angel Deradoorian (Dirty Projectors) and Jeremy Hyman (Ponytail) — is weird. It doesn’t pretend to be anything less. However, the resplendent chaos isn’t too far off from what we’ve heard already from Animal Collective (although I can’t say the same for Dirty Projectors or even Ponytail). Loud and a little bit angry, Slasher House takes us into a dream world, a psychedelic Dalí piece and a freakish study of the experimental.
Avey Tare continues to push the envelope of the experimental genre, much to our delight. The best part about Slasher House is that the songs aren’t defined in terms of the album. There is no general scheme or tone — there’s everything from the odd and daring to the lively and cool. “Little Fang,” which was released early as a single, is creepy. It’s mostly the muted background vocals to the lyrics “You’re something special” that remind me of the dilapidated hilarity behind Tim Burton animations. It’s these connections that make the album an incredible study of the abstract.
The intros grab the listener and drag them in. The intro to “Duplex Trip” bounces with bass, synth and mild percussion; the emerging noise is creative and relaxing. The intro of “Blind Babe” chimes with the animated bleeps of an ’80s arcade game before quickly hopping into super loud, lively percussion. It’s easy to become absorbed and just a little obsessed with music that is so beyond the norm that it lights a torch inside of us.
“Catchy (Was Contagious)” knows exactly how I feel about it. The song takes a moment to let the listener in before exploding with an insane charm. The genuine attention to detail, the disparate tonal sections of the song, the ups and downs — everything unites in a grand puzzle.
Despite its awesomeness, be warned that Slasher Flicks tracks are to be taken in moderation. The constant shrillness of Avey Tare’s voice can be migraine-inducing, and the major variation and overall perseverance of experimental flair are not for the faint of heart. All you may need is “Your Card” to be convinced of this: The vacillating, pounding synths will invade strange cavities of your brain and possibly cause hallucinations and temporary comas.
That being said, the album is a riot. I can only imagine what kind of world the musicians had in mind with songs like “Roses on the Window,” which is so disjointed and far-fetched that each new verse keeps the listener on their toes. As far as lyrics are concerned, the words are so enmeshed in the surreal that all we can do as listeners is try to enjoy whatever meaning may or may not be there. The songs are fascinating enough in themselves without interpretation.
Enter the Slasher House is a sensory experience. Its greatness depends on a vividness and complexity that we feed on as listeners and it doesn’t fail to excite our minds and stimulate our imaginations.
4.5 out of 5 stars