sport your br.

Going back to at least Sung Tongs, the dominant themes in Avey Tare and Panda Bear's lyrics have been responsibility, familial love, and a desire to work toward self-improvement. These aren't new ideas for pop music, but they are difficult things to express in song without coming across as unbearably hokey. Animal Collective circumvent this tackiness in part by investing every sound with an intense generosity rather than just leaving the sentiment to the words being sung. "Brother Sport" in particular is a big warm hug of a song, and would feel loving and supportive even if Panda Bear were not singing lyrics encouraging his brother not to descend to depression following the death of their father. Cynics may grumble, but anyone in need of this sort of earnest, full-hearted empathy will find it here as the music gradually shifts from a gentle exhortation to move on from a state of mourning to a celebratory climax merging elements of rave, psychedelia, and folk jamborees. On a good day, "Brother Sport" is a joyous romp, but in times of trouble, it's profound and life-affirming song, rejecting self-defeating despondency while showing a deep respect for the agony of loss. --Matthew Perpetua

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