As a matter of fact, it is with textural but memorable guitar riffs that Grandchildren do the most damage--in the best sense of the term. “Winterlude” is a Radioheady melodic line and drumbeat spliced with lots of retro synth tones and noises, an instrumental that breaks down quickly, really just an intro to “Heartbreaker” but good stuff. The diving and swelling and clicking acoustic strums of “Saturn Returns” are madly infectious. And to be fair, the ebullient slice of summery picking that is “Everlasting” sounds absolutely nothing like Animal Collective.What Grandchildren do better than almost anybody is combine elements of long-lost musical idioms with current trends to create something warm and familiar but futuristic. Most of these tunes are rooted in some variety of folk, but they splice in bloopy space-age keyboards and kitchen-sink samples in a way that’s sometimes reminiscent of The Books. Chief member Aleksander Martray has a gift for pushing buttons to make you nostalgic for bygone eras while tying in modern sounds, stretching pretty far in both experimental and accessible directions and reveling in the overlap. It’s refreshing to be able to call something “psychedelic” and not be forced to dismiss it as trippy fluff.
I’ll get this out of the way first: Cold Warrior will remind you of Animal Collective from the first beat, circa Feels-era. But the tribally-poppy path is fertile and eclectic ground, and this isn’t really derivative, more just riding an inevitable wave of cultural continuity. Before long, you’ll get roped in by the aggressive guitar hooks and the heady mixture of electronic and organic percussive momentum, and you’ll forget all about trying to compare it to anything.