REVIEW: Avey Tare – “Down There”

Avey Tare / Down There / Paw Tracks

As Animal Collective vocalist Avey Tare (David Portner) proved several times the past few years, he is more than capable of taking two seemingly dissonant and weird handfuls, clapping them together and turning them into something unique and mind-altering with an undeniable hook. However, Tare’s solo debut Down There fails to take flight in the same way as Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, choosing instead to creep over the tiles of the flooded basement where the majority of the release seems to have been recorded. Beyond literally manifesting itself on “Ghost of Books”, flowing water also seems to have wreaked havoc on much of the tracking process, with Tare’s trademark warbled vocal effects bleeding through to the synthesizers and drum machines.

These kinds of tactics work well on Animal Collective records when acting as mood-setting intros to dynamic songs, but on Down There the intros persist for four and a half minutes of aimless “beeps”, “boops” and disjointed, indecipherable lyrics – and then the song ends. Twenty-five minutes in, with a succession of bass drum kicks and a series of echoing vocal call-and-responses, “Heads Hammock” finally provides Down There with an actual pulse. This life is sustained for the remainder of the album, which consists of two songs dealing, ironically, with the topic of sustaining life – but these indicators of a heartbeat are a weak consolation for the initial vegetative block of tepid tunes.

Download: “Heads Hammock”


  • Zydlei Trujillo says:

    ummm…you should listen to the album more than once before giving a review.

    I thought that that was normal procedure for album reviewers

  • michael says:

    you don’t know what you’re talking about.

  • JB says:

    I also agree that was a pretty darn weak review

  • LD says:

    That was a pisspoor review

  • Robert B says:

    Got to love that its cool to start hating on AnCo stuff… Even if it was a poor record at least give it an honest look.

    (Maybe I should read the comment five more time before commenting… The internet is a pretty empty vacuum)

  • Mary says:

    are you guys serious? it isn’t amazing and this review was right on target. Animal Collective are great but this solo album isn’t.

  • spencer says:

    damn this is the review that makes it onto the wikipedia page? shame.

  • Matt says:

    lol at these comments. The review is pretty much on point. I’m a huge AC fan, but get real. This record’s mediocre at best.

  • tony says:

    I personally think this album is amazing and i’m a pretty big anco fan. i’m sorry you guys can’t enjoy it as much as i do because this album really makes me happy. I just hope ppl don’t base their opinions off other ppl’s opinions on the internet and can take it for what it is. I’ve always been more of an avey fan than a panda bear fan though

  • chris says:

    seriously? did you listen to this record more than once before writing this review? this is horrible.

  • chris says:

    also, this is one of the best records of the year, no doubt

  • Zach says:

    Wow what a terrible terrible review. Please stop hoping that everything Animal Collective related will sound like Merriweather. If you knew anything about Animal Collective you’d know what makes them great is their constant change. You like Heads Hammock because its the most Merriweather of all the songs, though it is a great one. Overall this album may not be the perfected album that Merriweather is, but thats the beauty in it. Anyone reading this review don’t listen to this misguided asshole who wouldn’t know talent if it sucked his pretentious dick. This album is an amazing showcase of Aveys phenomenal songwriting skills as well as an intense introspective trip into the negative aspects of his current life (grandma dying, sister having cancer and his wife leaving him). IF you just want another My Girls look elsewhere, but if you want more amazing and diverse music from one of the people that brought you My Girls then listen to this album.

  • Zach says:

    And really, opinions aside, this is a horrible review. Your job as a music critic is to give the readers a balanced view of the actual music on the album, further than just saying “Beeps and boops” and “unintelligible lyrics”. Why not talk about what the albums about, or go a little more in depth on its sound besides your narrow scoped description based on your poorly formed opinion. Even if you dont like the album fine, but write a fucking better review man. Pathetic.

  • Matt says:

    Man, a lot of butthurt anco fans in here

    Also, music journalism is not about being fair, its actually quite the opposite. The guy didn’t like the record, deal with it. I’m sure it wouldn’t take long to find another review about this album that peddles the kind of mandatory praise you people are looking for.

    “pphh uhhh you just like… dont understand man…you really suck dude…why dont you understand how perfect the things I like are…”

    He gave the record 3 stars for shit’s sake, its not like he outright trashed it

  • Zach says:

    oh shut up. I dont need the review to praise it, but I am just callin him out on being a shitty writer. If he wants to criticize albums, then I am gonna criticize his terrible writing abilities, and the fact that he based his opinion on how similar or different the album is to Merriweather. Stop assuming that just cause I wrote that hes a terrible music critic means Im a “butthurt anco fan”. At least im not a pretentious whiny douchebag hipster who reviews albums for a noname website slamming other peoples artwork because it isnt similar to the artwork that made them famous. You all suck a chode.

  • Ross says:

    What a bad review. This guy obviously wouldnt know good music from the gaping asshole that is probably right in the center of his face.

  • Chris says:

    I reviewed this album too (for a shitty college paper, nonetheless), and while i hope i was a bit more thorough than this, thought the album was okay. three stars, good opener and last two tracks, but not incredible. the inherent problem with animal collective is that either you’ve never heard of and dismiss them, or take every little thing they do to be a work of God (Pitchfork gave only one of their 15 albums a score less than 7, and Pitchfork is notoriously harsh). Granted, this reviewer didn’t go into how much of a personal album this is for Tare, but there must be room for some criticism among AC’s work. And yes, I have listened to more than Merriweather.

  • Anonymous says:

    the fact that Kings of Leon got almost five stars on this site, Senses fail got three and a half, and this got three, is enough for most people who know anything to get their reviews somewhere else

    “weird” music isn’t always fucking bad. you just don’t get it.

  • Julie says:

    to the person who left the last comment – they gave Warpaint 4 stars, so quit your whining. Blare is a great place for reviews. if you’d rather read hipsters gush over Avey than see an honest opinion, go check out Pitchfork.

  • Anonymous says:

    Warpaint isn’t weird you fucking idiot

  • Julie says:

    how would you know when the only thing you listen to is Avey Tare? this record isn’t anything special. if you can’t see that, it’s time to quit shrooms.

  • Anonymous says:

    i’ve never done mushrooms, and it’s becoming pretty clear that you’re completely close-minded. it’s not surprising that you’re defending this poorly written review. and how fucking daft to you have to be to accuse someone of only listening to Avey Tare? you probably work for this garbage

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