It’s near impossible to critique Enter the Slasher House without some form of contextual barometer. Animal Collective’s Dave Portner aka Avey Tare has a fondness for campy B-level horror which fuels the macabre overtones of both his side project’s new band name and the album title itself. Additonally featuring Angel Deradoorian- formerly of the Dirty Projectors- and Jeremy Hyman of Ponytail on drums, every facet of Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks promises to be something it ends up as entirely not. Inspired by the mid-60s foray into kitschy garage horror rock a’la “Monster Mash” and (I suppose) “Purple People Eater”, Enter the Slasher House never quite dials into that concept, often substituting Tare’s signature vocal derangement for any traces of camp. With the exception of the wonderful lead single “Little Fang” (a tune as gleeful as it is relentlessly off-kilter and weird), the Slasher Flicks end up sounding like a more accessibly calamitous…. Centipede Hz-era Animal Collective- albeit with a heavier dose of prog-funk thanks to some truly inspired arrangements from Hyman. To be more precise- if Congratulations is your favorite MGMT album, Enter the Slasher House is most likely what you wanted to hear from that band’s dead-on-arrival self-titled 2013 release.
The sheer auditory cornucopia here is inescapably hit-or-miss. However, the Slasher Flicks have crafted an engaging barrage of psych-pop, on par with the masterful solo haze of Animal Collective bandmate Panda Bear. Despite a briefly saggy midsection, Enter the Slasher House showcases a handful of Tare’s more evolved moments as a songwriter. The manic “A Send”, combustible “Blind Babe”, as well as “Little Fang” offer a breathing-room flexibility that was absent from both Tare’s previous offering Down There and recent work with Animal Collective. But it’s the six-minute tour-de-force and faintly dubstep “Roses on a Window” followed soon thereafter by “Strange Colores” that elevate Enter the Slasher House into an explosively cohesive listen. That the album avoids seguing into overwrought gimmickry remains nothing short of a miracle. Left to its own devices, Avey Tare + grindhouse kitsch has all the makings of one intolerably noisy ego trip. Yet, Enter the Slasher House is evidence that although Avey Tare may still refuse to exorcise his demons, at least he has decided to make peace with them.