Painting With

Animal Collective - Painting With
Critic Score
Based on 35 reviews
2016 Ratings: #536 / 775
User Score
Based on 427 ratings
2016 Ratings: #619
Liked by 1 person
February 19, 2016 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
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The 405

Painting With is not only the best Animal Collective album since 2009 (and arguably their best ever), but it could also go down as the closest thing this generation will have to getting a new Pet Sounds.

Pretty Much Amazing
Where it lacks wild-eyed adventurousness, it compensates with clarity and focus. Offerings of pure pop pleasure are offset with healthy doses of weirdness. It’s a sincere, exciting and excitable album that successfully adds by subtracting.
The Skinny
A leaner sound frames typically abstract lyrical preoccupations ... and Animal Collective still lay down a challenge. It's the sound of a band refreshed.
Slant Magazine

It's as weird an album as any Animal Collective has made ... but for both its earnest, uninhibited sense of play and the impeccable pop craft that organizes it all, underlying even its most eccentric moments, Painting With is also a uniquely affecting one.


Animal Collective’s latest sees them painting with confidence, acrylics, dinosaurs, Bob Ross, a twist, and a wipe out.

Loud and Quiet

Far from clinical, it is a much sparser effort than previous albums, relying primarily on filtered vocals and electronic percussion, while modular synthesisers rasp and twist.

NOW Magazine

Although the album revels in its sonic clutter (it’s remarkable how they can make percussive rhythms sound both primitive and absurdly futuristic), there are tracks scattered throughout to catch your breath.


Undeniably great sounding, the record puts Animal Collective's brightest colors forward and, if history is any indication, is no predictor whatsoever of what they may do next.


An album about doing away with boundaries, escaping definition, and running riot across a whole everywhere world of possibilities, Animal Collective have discovered that everywhere portal key they’re searching for in ‘Painting With’.


Painting With is striking because it manages to distill the essence of Animal Collective into 12 slices of bite-size psych-pop that have the punchy immediacy of a Ramones album.


Overall, ‘Painting With’ is a dizzying, lurid treat, almost too much to take in, craving its natural habitat. And it’ll really come alive out in the wild.

The Line of Best Fit

On this record the band seem to be firmly doing exactly what they want and not simply fulfilling the inevitability of the next thing. There are some striking, startling and sublime moments on Painting With, even if it is at times a little dis-jointed.

Consequence of Sound

Painting With relies on minimal beats and textures to become instantly familiar, comfortable, and fun from the get-go.

A.V. Club

Animal Collective is capable of crafting self-serious, masterful records; Painting With shows that the group is perhaps even better at making something meaningful when it loosens up.

Rolling Stone

The songs just hit liftoff five times faster than ever before, driven hard by Panda Bear's cartoonishly expressive slapstick-EDM beats. The results are weirdly addictive and enjoyably absurd.

Entertainment Weekly

Part of what has made Animal Collective so revered is their disregard for traditional song structure and melody. They’re still testing those limits on Painting With, but the product rarely feels as groundbreaking.


Painting With feels, more than anything, like a kind of construction project: Each sound meticulously built and only faintly familiar, each second crammed with doodads, as though the band was worried either they or their audience might get bored.

The Guardian

Amid the stuff that seems to be going out of its way to drive you up the wall, there are moments when the album works to pretty dazzling effect.


This is turbo-charged psych rock that leaves you feeling that you’ve experienced a rollercoaster ride through Willy Wonka’s factory on acid. For the most part, it’s exhilarating in its immediacy, but occasionally it becomes overwhelmingly nauseating.


Painting With is unmistakably an Animal Collective album, but in its eager familiarity, it ultimately neglects the one all-important quality of any Animal Collective record: novelty.


Painting With is arguably the most melodic of Animal Collective's many records, and yet, it's also one of the least memorable — by the album's end, it's hard to recall much about the compositions here, even after a number of run-throughs.

Tiny Mix Tapes

The songs here offer glimpses of hope that there is plenty of magic and power left in these humans, that the future holds another singular release from their camp. Painting With lacks the consistency to be that work.

No Ripcord

Painting With feels just far too interpolated, and even familiar, to truly grasp, though through its failures it manages to somehow bring them one step closer to achieving those awe-inspiring moments of yore.

Resident Advisor

Animal Collective still have plenty of whimsical creativity left in them, but on Painting With they mostly color inside the lines.


A record that has moments of brilliance but by virtue of trying to be a novelty record, actually comes closer to being a rehash of their previous work.


There is nothing inherently terrible about Painting With—it’s generally a pleasant record by most standards—it is the first Animal Collective record that feels like it has no place in this world, neither in their narrative or in relation to indie rock in general, which is striking, considering the tremendous influence they once had.

Drowned in Sound

It is ... quite irritating: the trio push the record's formula into borderline novelty territory, via cutesy samples and saccharine sweet excess that masks the humanity of their best work.

Under The Radar

It's the sound of a band ingesting a whole load of cheap, brightly colored plastic toys and vomiting them back up all over a record.

Fortunately, there is not a bad song on Animal Collective's newest effort. Unfortunately, everything good about Painting With is done much better on their albums Sung Tongs, Feels, Strawberry Jam, and Merriweather Post Pavilion. Is this a good album? Heck yeah it is. It does everything an Animal Collective album should. The volume is just turned down a notch. Still a solid addition to their discography.

Favorite Track: Lying in the Grass
I really failed to see what's so controversial about this LP. Another solid work from Animal Collective, not even close to their greatest projects, but still, hypnotic and entertaining. "FloriDada" is a piece of art, even when it could work as a cartoon opening theme.

Light 7

It feels so weird going from the crazy, unpredictable, and nearly unlistenable 'Danse Manatee' to the watered-down, poppy, and interesting 'Painting With'. This sounds nothing like the Animal Collective that I've come to listen to, as it seems like they've become a lot more accessible. While the melodies are interestingly catchy for Animal Collective, the vocals on here are a bit annoying for me. I will not return to this record in the future, aside from a couple tracks.

Color: White
FAV ... read more
“Painting With” has all the components of an amazing AnCo album: beautiful production, fun as hell experimentation, great hooks and introspective lyrics. Tracks like “FloriDada”, “Lying in the Grass” and “Golden Gal” are incredibly catchy and are a few of their best cuts to date! But wait. If I seem to be praising this album so much, then why am I only giving this a “decent” score? Well, unfortunately, the creativity wears thin halfway ... read more
some fun and creative tracks here but overall nothing special
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Added on: November 30, 2015