Reissued in the wake of Animal Collective's 2009 breakthrough, Campfire Songs dates from a time (2003) when they still had not settled upon that name for the band, but were operating under the sobriquet which eventually became the album title.
Recorded live on a back-porch in Maryland, it consists of five long tracks which segue into each other, with ambient sounds – crickets, rainfall, rustling leaves – furnishing a folksy backdrop for the strummed acoustic guitar grooves and minimalist-style vocal ululations which swell and ebb. The intention, claimed singer Panda Bear, was to give the music a warm, convivial outdoors atmosphere which people "could bring indoors". Accordingly, there's a gentle, pastoral feel to the performances, and a whimsical slant to the songs, which recalls both the hippy-era Beach Boys and the Incredible String Band, prefiguring recent developments in the latest American folk-rock revival. "Moo Rah Rah Rain" is a slow meditation on rainfall, and "De Soto De Son" a paean to bucolic living, while "Queen In My Pictures" features hallucinations of an Egyptian queen; less fanciful are "Doggy", about the death of Avey Tare's pet, and "Two Corvettes", in which a dreamlike fantasy of riding with a girlfriend in a Corvette – "wind in your hair, ribbons on your face" – is shattered by a freeway collision.
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