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Strawberry Jam

by Animal Collective

Released September 10, 2007 via Domino Recording Co.

Reviewed August 27, 2022

Top tracks (based on community voting)
For Reverend Green (31%), Fireworks (28%), Peacebone (27%)

The poster children of experimental/psychedelic pop throughout the entirety of the 2000s, Animal Collective have carved out a now 20+ year career through a combination of bubbly indie pop sounds and a lo-fi, avant-garde approach. By 2007, they were already well-established veterans of the indie scene, with Strawberry Jam marking their seventh album in just as many years. On it, AnCo craft a mish-mash of magical nostalgia, childlike curiosity, and just an all-around weirdness. Strawberry Jam has a unique sound that finds itself at a crossroads of mastery and inexperience; janky percussion is combined with keys that, at times, very easily sound like they could have been recorded on a toy keyboard. There are a lot of sounds and ideas bouncing in each and every direction on Strawberry Jam, giving it a dense and colorful that is as disorienting as it is comforting. Avey Tare takes on much of the lead vocal duties, but Panda Bear still offers plenty to love in the way of background vocals—as well as the lead on “Chores” and “Derek.” Avey Tare’s vocals are no less disorienting than the sound laid forth, regularly shifting between the melodic and the jarring. And what’s an AnCo record without cryptic and abstract songwriting? Because that’s exactly what you’ll get on Strawberry Jam; even the strangest of ramblings on here will draw something out of you—whether that’s the aforementioned nostalgia, dread and overwhelming loneliness, a sense of inner peace, or some combination of conflicting feelings. – Dominick (8.8/10)

Animal Collective's seventh studio album, Strawberry Jam, leans in on the collective's morbidly playful characteristics of knowing that all good things must come to an end; but we'll sing and dance anyway. Upbeat with an underlying sense of sadness, Strawberry Jam is performed by a band with all intentions of making straight up sunshine pop, however the heaviness of the heart cannot be hidden. Every up has its equal down, splendour keeps an eye on misery. Enamored with sweet melodies and kaleidoscopic twirls, Strawberry Jam is alluring in its cadence. The Baltimore quartet were on a run of records, with Strawberry Jam sitting snug in between Feels and Merriweather Post Pavilion. Arguably the strongest stint in the group's discography, Strawberry Jam acts as an interpreter amidst the spree of eccentric, psychedelic, glitchy and oftentimes child-like material. Standout tracks come back-to-back in “For Reverend Green” and “Fireworks.” – Peter (8/10)

Cam: 8.8/10 | Dominick: 8.8/10 | Hadley: 8.5/10

DeVán: 8/10 | Peter: 8/10 | Jared: 8/10

Community Reviews:

Strawberry Jam oftentimes is not as sweet nor as inviting as the name suggests. The experimentation of the compositions gives reason to comments comparing Animal Collective to The Beach Boys. Coupled with abrasive vocals and sharp lyrical storytelling, this project is much more complex than Strawberry Jam.” – @sorenstancliff (9.6/10)


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