Animal Collective (Domino)

Judging by the hyperbole being banded about online, we might as well stop looking already for the best album of 2009.

Last week, Pitchfork gave Merriweather Post Pavilion a near-unprecedented 9.6 out of 10, while Uncut tagged it as “one of the landmark American albums of the century”.

Big words.

But, if only in terms of scope, Merriweather Post Pavilion matches them.

Named after an open-air concert venue in rural Maryland, Animal Collective’s ninth album is the record people have been hoping Mercury Rev would make for about 15 years.

It’s their kitchen-sink record, a relentlessly huge and blissed-out wall of sound that barely pauses throughout its 55 minutes.

On headphones, it’s constantly breathtaking.

My Girls is as poppy, and as great, as it gets; Bluish also soars.

But through speakers, it becomes clearer that the group’s attention to sonic detail isn’t always matched by their songwriting: on a handful of tracks — Summertime Clothes and Guys Eyes — there’s not enough melodic momentum to carry the arrangements.

If you loved MGMT’s Oracular Spectacular, you’ll likely love this too.

But you’ll hear better elsewhere. WILL FULFORD_JONES