Down There

Metascore
76

Generally favorable reviews - based on 23 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 23
  2. Negative: 0 out of 23
Buy On
  1. Oct 25, 2010
    80
    Still, quiet and reflective where Animal Collective has become epic and dense, the album is unique, a mellow gem of experimental folk.
  2. Oct 27, 2010
    70
    After an album full of well-earned wound-licking, it is reassuring to hear him, once again, rebounding with a lust for life.
  3. Oct 25, 2010
    79
    Down There is less accessible than latter-day Animal Collective and harder to wrap your head around, but it isn't a callback to the more difficult sound that marked the band early on.
  4. Uncut
    Oct 28, 2010
    80
    Down There reveals a lyrical quality to Dave Avey Tare Portner's songwriting that's not always apparent amid the radiant clatter of the full band. [Nov 2010, p.81]
  5. Q Magazine
    Oct 25, 2010
    80
    It's a trawl through pop's murky subconscious, all mangled electronics, lurching beats and warped mantras. [Nov. 2010, p. 116]
  6. Mojo
    Nov 5, 2010
    80
    Musically, the influence of dubstep is readily apparent. [Dec. 2010, p. 99]
  7. Oct 26, 2010
    60
    At best, the songs nudge around the furniture in your skull. At worst, they burble, drift and pleasantly fade away.
  8. 70
    To be completely honest, it's no revelation – at times the music feels incomplete, like a lonesome Portner is missing his bros – but it's played out beautifully, sunny in disposition and just a little wild around the edge.
  9. Oct 29, 2010
    80
    It's an album almost too personal, too suffocating, to match the transcendence of Portner's best work with Animal Collective; still, his vision of sad swampland, and its beautifully intricate and melancholy soundtrack, is haunting - the sound of someone confronting their demons and coming away stronger.
  10. Under The Radar
    Oct 26, 2010
    70
    Portner's attention to meldoy makes Down There a tiny wonder. [Fall 2010, p. 58]
  11. Nov 2, 2010
    70
    Fans of Animal Collective and Panda Bear will obviously love this album; another creative triumph for the boys from Baltimore.
  12. Oct 25, 2010
    80
    Loaded with typically murky, watery beats and trademark wordless backing vocals, it's an off-kilter, densely hypnotic listen.
  13. Oct 26, 2010
    75
    The dearth of wild-eyed dead-ends and weirdness-for-weirdness' sake makes Down There a compact and instantly pleasing listen, even when it goes down too easily.
  14. Alternative Press
    Oct 29, 2010
    40
    This is strictly a headphone listen--or, more likely, non-listen. [Nov 2010, p.108]
  15. Oct 27, 2010
    80
    Down There carries many of the hallmarks of c-wave in its purse like a pack of mints or set of keys, but it diverges in notable ways.
  16. Nov 1, 2010
    80
    Down There may not be inherently more complex than the standard Animal Collective album, but its deliberate languidness, its songs measured and exposed as opposed to the usual frenzy, lends itself more fully to an exploration of how carefully the songs are shaped.
  17. Oct 27, 2010
    80
    With little pop appeal, Avey Tare's swampy debut is unlikely to grace top 40 radio playlists. But given time, Down There is a rewarding and fascinating listen, its allure in the seductive atmosphere it exudes with every glistening note and slimy drum fill.
  18. Nov 30, 2010
    80
    Portner has long oozed an anarchic and, at times, gloomy essence as Animal Collective's alpha songwriter, and Down There feels quite content wallowing in this murky bath.
  19. Oct 25, 2010
    75
    Down There, David Portner aka Tare's debut solo joint, is a further dot on the still-empty dotted line of Animal Collective's career, built on a span of eight or so albums through which these guys have willfully, lovingly defied expectations and definitions and even maybe their own individual talents.
  20. Oct 25, 2010
    80
    Half the tracks see the beats surface into formed drums but for the rest the stratification and distortion takes the sound field to new places. Dangerously engaging.
  21. The Wire
    Dec 22, 2010
    80
    Down there, his most accessible work outside the confines of Animal Collective, revels in that upside-down gravity. [Nov 2010, p.61]
  22. 60
    While it feels great to have some undiluted Avey Tare material, he seems a little creatively restless here.
  23. Oct 27, 2010
    75
    Down There harnesses the core duality upon which the AC empire is built: a warm and pure pop æsthetic folded harmoniously into layers of murky swirls and drips.
User Score
8.1

Universal acclaim- based on 19 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 5 out of 5
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 5
  3. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. sdk
    Nov 2, 2010
    10
    Avey Tare has created one of the best experimental pop records of the year. Tare has the uncanny ability to syphon new and interesting soundsAvey Tare has created one of the best experimental pop records of the year. Tare has the uncanny ability to syphon new and interesting sounds from the ether with Down There, a quaint, substantive record that will (IMHO) withhold the strain of time and musical prowess across the collective consciousness. He has truly created a new genre. Full Review »
  2. Oct 30, 2010
    9
    Avey Tare has finally shown us what he brings to Collective, and I was caught totally unawares by this album. I expected noisy, clutteredAvey Tare has finally shown us what he brings to Collective, and I was caught totally unawares by this album. I expected noisy, cluttered songs with scattered yelps and screams based on Portner's other projects, but Down There is a lo-fi, densely layered album that creates a unique distant sound quite unlike anything else I've ever heard. I fell in love with Portner's voice on Spirit, because I felt his honesty and pain coming through, a quality I felt was lost on later AnCo albums. Down There does an amazing job of bringing that kid back out of Avey. It seems that many AnCo fans think that Panda is the yin to Avey's yang, and the two run a system of checks and balances on each other. This album proves that Portner can control himself from getting to weird and wild on his own, and in fact, my only complaint with this album is that maybe he did tone it down just a little too much. I personally love the screams on songs like Reverend Green, and I think maybe just a little more of a rock-out on one or two songs on Down There would have made it a 10.

    Overall, this is a dark album that certainly takes multiple listens to get into, but for any fan of older AnCo stuff, or anyone who appreciates vocals becoming layers in the songs, rather than slapped on top of them, this is a fantastic, rewarding album. Additionally, because the album is so short, I find myself listening to it straight through most of the time, but if you're looking for the standouts, I recommend Laughing Hieroglyphic, Oliver Twist, Ghost of Books, and Lucky 1.
    Full Review »
  3. Oct 29, 2010
    7
    Swampy stuff, right? A good debut album. I'd go with Lucky 1 and 3 Umbrellas.