If you should choose to wander into a slasher house, it would be rather ambitious of you to believe you might walk out intact. In all likelihood, you will end up being hacked to bits to satisfy the craving of some lunatic who feeds off of your anguish. Your untimely demise will not be quick. It will not be painless and it will most definitely be gory. If you should decide to enter Avey Tare’s slasher house, you are certain to learn one simple truth. Some folks are sane, and some folks are not so sane.
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks, the new project of Animal Collective’s Avey Tare, has just released their debut album, Enter the Slasher House. In this slasher film, Avey Tare plays the part of the psychopath, using his music to lure his unsuspecting audience into something…tense. Standard conventions created over hundreds of years of creativity are chopped up, rearranged and reinvented to the sick pleasure of an obsessive and troubled soul. To complete the massacre, Avey Tare enlisted the services of fellow crazies Angel Deradoorian (keys, vox), of The Dirty Projectors, and Jeremy Hyman (drums), of Ponytail and Dan Deacon.
When I learned of Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks’ upcoming album, I expected to hear something harsh and abrasive, coming from the same root as Animal Collective’s wonderful album, Strawberry Jam. The band decided to entice listeners with a hopelessly catchy first single, “Little Fang”, which caught me completely off guard. Here was an example of pure bouncy indie pop, easily enjoyable for just about anybody, rather than something that tries to push the listener far outside of their comfort zone. Upon hearing the full album, I became aware of the seduction, the trick that Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks had played on all of us. Lure them in with something unoffensive, then go at them with a chainsaw.
All that being said, Enter the Slasher House is a good deal more accessible than anything put out by Animal Collective (except maybe Merriweather Post Pavilion). There are a handful of tunes on the album that quite naturally enjoyable, but others will certainly test the limits of your average music fan. The result is an album that may come across as unpleasant and difficult at first, but given a few rounds and an opportunity to delve into the layers beyond the initial wall of unrelenting sound, you might be able to find an innovative and unique album. When you Enter the Slasher House, you will find an eclectic mix of influences which give the album great diversity from one song to the next. Every tune seems to be cut from a different person’s body, but reworked into an identifiable vibe that unites the full record. When I hit play on the first few tracks of the album, I found myself wondering how a song like “Little Fang” could possibly fit. Lo and behold, the single melded perfectly with the help of smooth and seamless transitions between tracks, and manages to form a pocket of relief in direct contrast to a song like “That It Won’t Grow”, characterized by Avey Tare’s familiar yelping and Jeremy Hyman’s crafty mashing together of seemingly separate rhythms.
To enhance the madness featured on Enter the Slasher House, Abby Portner created continuous visuals to accompany the entire album. The stream is available on youtube for a limited time, but be fairly warned: you may be horrified, you may find this record a little unsettling, and you may not still be in possession of all your limbs by the end of it. Give Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks a few tries, you might find you have a taste for gore after all.