Strawberry Jam

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Strawberry Jam
Studio album by Animal Collective
Released September 10, 2007
Recorded January 2007[1]
Genre Neo-psychedelia, experimental rock
Length 43:36
Label Domino
Producer Animal Collective
Animal Collective chronology
Feels
(2005)
Strawberry Jam
(2007)
Merriweather Post Pavilion
(2009)
Singles from Strawberry Jam
  1. "Peacebone"
    Released: 13 August 2007
  2. "Fireworks"
    Released: 5 November 2007
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
Metacritic (79/100)[2]
Review scores
Source Rating
Allmusic 4/5 stars[3]
Drowned in Sound (10/10)[4]
NME (8/10)[5]
No Ripcord (10/10)[6]
Pitchfork Media (9.3/10)[7]
Punknews.org 4.5/5 stars[8]
Rockfeedback 5/5 stars[9]
Stylus Magazine B−[10]
Tiny Mix Tapes 3.5/5 stars[11]

Strawberry Jam is the seventh studio album by American psych folk band Animal Collective. It was released in September 2007, the band's first on Domino Records. The title and track listing were revealed by band member Geologist on the Collected Animals message board on May 16, 2007.[12] The press response to Strawberry Jam was highly positive, with most lauding its unique sound as a large step forward in the band's evolution. The album charted on the Billboard Top 200, debuting and peaking at #72.[13]

Recording[edit]

The album was recorded at Wave Lab Studios in Tucson, Arizona. Band member Brian Weitz explained why they chose this location on the Collected Animals message board [2]:

"dave [Portner] and i were talking a few months back about environments to record and one of us was like maybe it'd be sweet to make this next one a desert record and then everyone was like yeah man we haven't done that yet and it seems like it could fit the songs and the way we want them to sound. that might not make sense to anyone but us because when you think of the desert you think of twangy guitars and morricone soundtracks and jim morrison walking with the ghost of an indian, but we don't really see it that way. we looked at a bunch of studios from southern california to new mexico and settled on one we liked in tucson. plus i've spent about a year and a half of my life living in the tucson area"

Moreover, Strawberry Jam engineer Scott Colburn, who also worked with the band to record the predecessor Feels, knew Wave Lab's owner. According to member Noah Lennox, it was a conscious decision to record the album "in a desert setting."[14]

Album content[edit]

In a pre-release interview with Billboard, guitarist Deakin described the new album as "chiseled" and "shiver-inducing". According to the interview, the majority of the album's songs were played on the band's live shows from 2005 to 2006, but that there would be, "nonetheless, a few new ones that we've never played live."[15]

Two songs that had been played extensively on the band's 2005–2006 concerts, "Safer" and "Street Flash", were not included on Strawberry Jam. Regarding the songs' absences, singer and guitarist Avey Tare wrote to fans that the band recorded studio versions for both, but decided against including them on the album, "partially due to their length[s]". "Safer" was eventually released as the B-side of the album's first single, "Peacebone", while "Street Flash" and other studio leftovers appeared on the 2008 EP Water Curses.

About the content of "Peacebone", David Portner said in an Interview with BBC:

I'm just blending together visual images from different places. [...] But it always comes back down to the chorus, which is about having an obsession with the past, which is something I'm not into in terms of culture. Music should be more than just something to stomp to - it should be more interactive. For us it's not always about just writing a good song - we wanna play with your ears in terms of colours and space with sound.[16]

Title and cover art[edit]

The name Strawberry Jam came from singer and drummer Panda Bear as he and the band were on a plane headed to Greece for a show. Upon receiving his complimentary tray of food, he opened up the packet of strawberry jam that had been provided for the bread. As he removed the cover of the packet, he was drawn to the look of the glistening jam, and he expressed his desire for the production of their new album to sound like the jam looked, "that is to say, something that's really synthetic and sharp and futuristic looking," but also "tangy and sweet, almost in a kind of aggressive way in terms of the way it tastes".[17]

Avey Tare created and photographed the cover art. Additional layout and design was done by Rob Carmichael, with whom Animal Collective has collaborated on several other projects.

Internet leak[edit]

The album's internet leak on June 12, 2007, was notable in that it was leaked in three song clusters over a period of weeks. Geologist wrote on the Collected Animals board that the first batch of promotional copies were watermarked, and that each journalist's name would be digitally embedded in any extracted files.[18] On June 19, 2007, a letter from the band's publicist was sent to music journalists regarding the leaking of the first three songs:[19]

Last week three tracks from Animal Collective's new album leaked. Within minutes we were able to track the leak to a writer's CD. That person got in more trouble than you care to hear about and was almost fired. The person was also forced to write an apology letter to an entire staff of people and the head of Domino Records along with other penance.

Panda Bear talked with Shout Mouth regarding the band's thoughts on the leak:[20]

The only thing we’re really upset about with the leak is that it’s only parts of it. I think there are six songs out there now. People aren’t even able to get the full experience of the album, which bums us all out quite a bit. So if you’re listening leakers [speaking directly into the tape recorder], put up those other three songs, man, pronto.

The remaining three tracks—"Fireworks", "Cuckoo Cuckoo" and "Derek"—were all leaked on July 4, 2007.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "Peacebone" – 5:13
  2. "Unsolved Mysteries" – 4:25
  3. "Chores" – 4:30
  4. "For Reverend Green" – 6:34
  5. "Fireworks" – 6:50
  6. "#1" – 4:32
  7. "Winter Wonder Land" – 2:44
  8. "Cuckoo Cuckoo" – 5:42
  9. "Derek" – 3:01

Personnel[edit]

References[edit]