As Avey Tare, David Portner has been the unofficial head of experimental art pop types Animal Collective for the past 14 years.
He’s been engaged in various offshoot projects in the interim too, either with the likes of David Grubbs and Black Dice or, as he did in 2013, forming his own trio, Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks. This second solo album comes seven years after debut Down There and is described in the press blurb as “an electro-acoustic movement through leaves, rocks and dust.” It’s not a bad synopsis of Eucalyptus’ myriad charms, explaining Tare’s intuitive approach to free-flowing songs that seem to move unconsciously through a variety of moods and settings. AC bandmate Josh Dibb is aboard too, as are various others, chiefly orchestrator Eyvind Kang and ex-Dirty Projectors singer (and Slasher Flicks member) Angel Deradoorian. Nothing quite embodies the endearing strangeness of Eucalyptus asJackson 5, whose leftfield pedal steel prog pop is suddenly ruptured by a sublime melody that disappears just as quickly. Gentle percussive drones form backdrops to these tunes, dive-bombed by acoustic trills, buzzes and backwards effects, creating a song suite that, for all its rich exotica, never feels overdone.