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December 07, 2009 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2009-12-07

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The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

Monday, December 7, 2009 - 5A

"You had extra gloves?"
The ultimate wa at r o e

Collectively awe some

off it

In a
Late SI
lie Po
ers" as
in the
20 ye
cally tI
ion, Le
kind of;

ie Gyllenhaal and the same name, "Brothers" is about
brothers Sam (Tobey Maguire,
bey Maguire face "Spider-Man") and Tommy (Jake
Gyllenhaal, "Brokeback Moun-
n a touching tale of tain"), the former a U.S. Marine
who gets deployed to Afghanistan,
sibling rivalry the latter a formerly incarcerated
n'er-do-well who couldn't care less
By JENNIFER XU about serving his country. Shortly
DailyArts Writer after leaving, Sam is proclaimed
dead, leaving his wife Grace (Port-
recent segment of the "The man), their two daughters and
how" featuring actress Nata- Tommy to cope with the disastrous
rtman ("V repercussions.
Vendetta"), **** one of the film's greatest deci-
Letterman sions was casting Gyllenhaal and
"Broth- Brothers Maguire as brothers, as the two
"the finest resemble each other so much that
ever made AtQualityl6 people found it physically difficult
past 12, and Showcase to tell them apart prior to "Broke-
ars." That Lionsgate back." This similarity helps con-
he scarcely tribute to the film's role reversal,
d the increasingly uncom- as bad-boy Tommy gradually gets
e Portman to get a word in in touch with his father-figure
se; Letterman was so fanati- side, building Grace a new kitch-
hrilled with his moviegoing en and playing games with her
nce. For a man who usually daughters. Eventually, loneliness
'ts interviews with stars in a and attraction draw the grieving
ocking, half-distracted fash- wife and younger brother into a
tterman's genuine interest is marijuana-fueled kiss, bringing
a big deal. newfound hope to a family rav-
d on a 2004 Danish film of aged by tragedy. Now, Tommy has

superseded his brother's position
as the patriarch.
In a bit of a "Pearl Harbor"-
"Apocalypse Now" spin, Sam
comes back just as the family is on
the verge of patching itself togeth-
er. It turns out he had been held
hostage by the Taliban, and is now
a deranged shell of his former self,
irrevocably changed by the incal-
culable horrors of war. Here, the
reversal has occurred both ways,
as the formerly stoic Sam staggers
around the house screaming of
adultery and treachery.
It has become somewhat of a
trend in cinema to bemoan the
devastation of the wars in Iraq and
Afghanistan in the post-Bush era.
Like the simultaneously released
film "The Messenger," "Brothers" is
not strictly a "war movie." Although
the movie features gruesome scenes
of the Taliban branding prisoners
with hot irons, the meat of the story
lies in the home. In this way, "Broth-
ers" is more interested in exploring
the domestic discord resulting from
a soldier's absence and eventual
return to humanity than what hap-
pens in the war itself.

Daily Arts Writer
Apologies are in order for every other indie band
that recorded an album in 2009. They didn't have a
fighting chance: 2009 will forever
be known as the year ofAnimal Col- *
lective. Resident indie gods among
us, Animal Collective set the bar in Animal
early January with the innovative ConecW
Merriweather Post Pavilion, gar-
nering an obsessed cult following Fall Be Kind
claiming Animal Collective as the Domino
"true" indie rockers among a sea
of pseudo-indie rockers. In a day and age when indie
rock has become almost a misnomer, Animal Collec-
tive is making music that's indie in every sense of the
word. It's actually independent: The band has its own
style, trumping the paltry, generic indie rock being
manufactured by so many record labels today.
Fall Be Kind is the perfect conclusion to a ban-
ner year for Animal Collective. Instead of trying
to top the success of Merriweather, the EP's sound
explores a similar realoh tempering with trippy
synths and loops while employing a chillier, melan-
cholic demeanor.
Opener "Graze" unfolds in a sleepy spiral,
with the juxtaposition of fairy tale-esque strings,
twinkling piano keys and Avey Tave's continuous
chants "let me begin," leaving listeners in a bliss-
ful daze that - out of nowhere - launches into a
renaissance fair jive. Yup. Complete with pan flute,
courtesy of none other than Zamfir the "pan flute
Animal Collective: the
champions of 2009.
dude," the second part of the song seems to come
out of nowhere. But a lack of fluidity is what makes
Animal Collective sound so definable.and unique -
with all its twists and turns, what remains is a joy-
ful mess of seriously complex sound.
"What Would I Want? Sky" is next, with the EP's
easiest listen. Convoluted with the band's charac-
teristic strangeness, dizzying vocals are interposed
with water-imitating feedback and crashing cym-
bals that gradually float into the clouds. Halfway
through the track, a dreamy melody is exposed,
intertwining with a simple drum beat, bursting
chimes and the aid of the Grateful Dead's "Unbro-

This is an album cover, apparently.
ken Chain" over Tare's probing vocals, "Is every-
thing all right? / You feeling moany? / You feeling
stony? / You're not the only."
The meld of the Grateful Dead as the main event
could have left the track feeling slapped together,
but it proves to be one of the breeziest recordings of
the band's career. Parts of the track feel like a full-on
pop song that could easily go mainstream. Following
in the footsteps of upbeat, catchy tracks like Mer-
riweather's "My Girls" and "Summertime Clothes,"
"Sky" is a masterful creative endeavor that will like-
ly garner the band an even wider fan-base.
"Bleed" and "On a Highway" are moody, foggy
ballads that are similar to the eccentric, abstract
quality of tracks on earlier albums like Feels.
"Bleed" is an eerie, haunting interlude that sets the
tone for the final darker tracks of the EP. The tex-
tured track coarsely meanders along, trading off
emotions with the alternating lyrics "I feel hope-
ful" and "I feel shameful," before morphing into
"On A Highway." "Highway" deals with the tor-
ments of loneliness and boredom that come with
the life of a touring musician. Over sonic waves,
electric synths and echoing vocals, Tare depicts
life: "I let some hash relax me / Get lost in human
pleasure." Those hippies.
Fall concludes with "I Think I Can," using snaps
and claps to return to the upbeat demeanor of the
EP's earlier tracks. While EPs can often times
feel like a hodgepodge of songs left off of various
albums, Fall Be Kiid is the epitome of flow and
cohesion. With this EP, Animal Collective ends a
chapter in its career of creating psychedelic, inno-
vative outfits.


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