If you're someone whose threshold for arty bands is equal to that for looking at pictures of yourself aged 17, then Animal Collective may have ranked as high on your priority list as investing in one of Coldplay's colourful Crimean War-meets-the-school-panto jackets. But even the biggest cynic will find something to grin about on 'Merriweather Post Pavilion'.

Forget the mouthful title, their silly stage names or the fact that you heard something in the past and swore a wide berth and jump in: this is a life-affirming example of a band leaving caution back at home under the duvet and seeing where their playing takes them. The results are epic and catchy, meandering and pulse-raising and full of the one thing missing from so much music right now: a sense of wonder. From soundtracking nature documentaries to sunrise jogs, this album can do it all.

Already bestowed with classic status by many - although whether two of the last three songs are as strong as the previous eight is a moot point - this is the gloombuster that offers something new every time. And when you're 20 years older you may still hear kids banging on about it - or you might be banging on about it to them.

Harry Guerin