Calling all hipsters: Merriweather is sure to be a collector’s item

If Animal Collective could create a folk, lo-fi, stripped down album, “Merriweather Post Pavilion” would be it. On their ninth studio album, the avant-garde trio retreated to the depths of their emotions for a rocky ride. After the wide acclaim of “Strawberry Jam” (2007), a drawn out ode to noise, Panda Bear and Co. were subdued by thoughts of adulthood, family and children.Yet, these thoughts of normality, as posed on “Daily Routine,” do not fly with the furry bunch. While talking about driving fast with his daughter in the car, he notes “What’s good is to make [the car fast] / Sing a song to pass the playground.” While “Strawberry” is noted for individual, unrelated slices of life, the album named after the famed arena in Maryland progresses on a love-struck path of lust. The highly anticipated album begins with a trippy, experimental slide into music, eerily similar to the sounds of John Williams’ “Harry Potter” theme. Akin to a fair amount of listeners, “In the Flowers” tells the tale of “A dancer who was high in a field from a moment / Couldn’t stop that spinning force.” But, the downbeat saga of unrequited love quickly shifts into a danceable, poppy “My Girls,” which pumps up the tribal drums and lets a sing-songy voice seep and morph into a near unrecognizable combination of noise. When “Merriweather” lacks substance, as it does towards the middle of the album, it reverts back to their tried and true methods of dynamic shifting and faux screaming – think Reverend Green – for effect and harmony. This disappoints in “Also Frightened,” a showcase of the aforementioned techniques. This gives way to layered thoughts fitted between noise, whether it be whispering secrets in “Bluish,” harmony disguising guilty pleasures in “Guys Eyes,” or electro trying to outdo lyrics in “Taste.”In a stream of consciousness regression, the stresses of love consume them in the mind-numbing “No More Runnin’.” Psychology majors, please decipher: “No more runnin’ / I’ve got to be on back porches of a fire fly lit tree / It’s what I hoped for.” Yet the old Animal Collective returns in full swing with “Brother Sport,” and its orchestra of sound bites. In a crescendo, it overpowers everything in its path. As the wonder of “Brother Sport” hints, our furry friends are a dynamite group of sound engineers equipped with a voice, but next time, let’s leave the sappy stuff out.