Live: Deflating Inflatables. Animal Collective, Roundhouse.

And so the weekend ends where it once began. All Friday early eve optimism exchanged for that dull numb Sunday and its ensuing imminent-return-to-mundanity vibe signals, we've some supernal entity to thank for Animal Collective being about these European longitudes and latitudes right around now. Spiritually, we're back in Baltimore although impatiently awaiting beneath a set of inflatable dentures, it almost feels like a 'Stones show is upon us. No such unluck.

Mick & co. could no longer comport themselves as do Paw Tracks duo Prince Rama – that much becomes immediately apparent. Exuberant Brooklynite psych types smothered in fluorescence, they take little to no notice of this being the blackest of early November Sabbaths, and there's little to no time before the veiled frizz that is Taraka Larson finds herself in amidst a still relatively modest throng. A spectral bride of sorts with a peachy train draped across a Laodicean few, if it may initially be something of a train in vain, then their invigorating brand of pseudo-spiritual enlightenment (Taraka and sister Nimai were purportedly bred on a Floridian Hare Krishna comune) is very much in an ATP vein. That is to say that their set surges as though a trash-pop Peaking Lights concealed in a bubble and set to drift off toward far-flung chalet, where it'll only burst once the spell breaks come Monday sunrise. A heady injection of quite intoxicating vim, whilst Peaking Lights' asocial demeanour is now a trademark of sorts, the Prince feeds off of interaction, and the entailed adulation. It's all too esoteric for much of that, and with Taraka often in amongst us and thereby invisible to many, she epitomises this explicitly arcane. Moreover, they're more than a little evocative of Feathers, what with there being an element of Emperor's New Clothes at play as you can't help but sense that 'Rama may be chancing things a touch. Though if you can't act and react according to somewhat flimsy moves of whimsy in these sorts of realms, then where can you?

Yet this most patently isn't their stage, for it's something of a bouncy castle redux of the artwork adorning AnCo's latest full-length, Centipede Hz. It ain't their soundsystem either by the sounds of it, although that's another issue altogether. For tonight is about one thing, and one thing only, with said thing being the eleven things that compose said LP. The 'Collective have made some boldly outré moves in their ever expanding history, though airing what is arguably their most impenetrable listen to date more or less in full, and thereby neglecting a genre-exhaustive, and listener-exhausting discography amassed over such time, is as audacious as any. Absence has made the heart grow fonder however; the toothache harder to bear if you will, thus to have them elevated exultant above us and in these snaggled jaws, well, it palliates such pains.

Chewed up by this almighty inflatable gob, that which they spit out and exude deflates a mood that was once bursting with zing, as the variegated drones of Applesauce seem convoluted with Avey Tare's vocals diluted by inessential FX. Eyes turn to sweated messes irregardless. The contorted tribalisms of Wide Eyed set Sunday to subtle undulation as some bob lethargically, as though irrepressibly wearied by the weekend just done. Never have I ever felt so utterly done as I have following on from an All Tomorrow's Parties one, and Monkey Riches is the stuff of knockout shouty chalet party dreamt up atop inch-thick mattress, as swashes of plush reverb splash in the sound of bottomless gloop. Honeycomb is then diligently compiled to serve as a higgledy squall of synthetics drizzled in blurted din – a sort of Heady Fwends-esque, bowel-voiding blurble.

Most intriguingly though, this multi-sensory Centipede Hz live show represents a reversion to a more conventional, if less collected band feel. Deakin may be back in the frame stage-left, but never before have the troupe appeared as individualised as they do tonight. To default to chalet analogy, they're as though four distinct individuals doing their own four distinctly individual, and highly idiosyncratic things. Noah Lennox would be cooped up in one of the room's four corners, thudding out some unorthodox yet gorgeous rhythms whilst Geologist might be tinkering with the knobs of a flatscreen dangling off one of its four walls, such is his inspiratory tending to all manner of gadgetry. Tare would most likely be sprawled across savaged carpet, stroking its strands rabidly for some grasp on reality. But Deakin, well, Josh Dibb still seems the 'Collective's most unremarkable member. His return, appositely therefore, prompted an aural crawl into a less remarkable terrain. But in accordance with this concept of a gradually disintegrating harmony – even as AnCo again expands – is the actuality that, just as the record lacked the conviction of Lennox' Tomboy, the show lacks the compelling energies of the Panda Bear show Noah's been honing in the interim since Merriweather Post Pavilion.

Visually, he's here as central as anyone as he sits only a little off-kilter beneath an optically illusional plastic tentacle. But estranged beyond miscellaneous pieces of percussion, he's in an enduring danger of drifting out into loss. Which is somewhat astonishing, for they're at their best when Lennox is at his most vocal, and thereby focal: Rosie Oh fringes on the fancifully epiphanic, whilst New Town Burnout gurgles like Teengirl Fantasy enveloped by a dense and insurmountable bliss. But he and Tare are dual vocalists to divide opinion yet never duel, as may Lennon and McCartney, or Love and Wilson. And although it may be Tare to deliver effusive thanks that come warped beyond all recognition while Lennox dishes out inessential interpretive drum fill interludes, it's the latter who's of significantly greater intrigue and endearment. Avey spins the cerebral, aboriginal didg-throb of Lion in a Coma that's a twirl of dizzying Svengali self-indulgence; the rave-laced gobbledygook-pop of Moonjock; the heaving Pulleys. But as Tare becomes increasingly pivotal, it's an excerpt of Panda Bear's Scheherezade that prompts the realisation of that which we're missing. We're here being made to work hard for an increasingly unobtainable reward; oft therefore left feeling altogether lost as there is, ultimately, so little to get.

Enhancing this sense of bewilderment is the fluid state of the show: if Centipede Hz plays something like a transient radio transmission then against a backdrop of maddening screens and lurid, virus-like figures, this is an appositely televisual equivalent that's as deranged as any hour of ATP TV since ever. Cranky transitions between songs jar, as do the inconsistencies in quality within such songs, but all this only makes the 'Collective all the more captivating when things go according to a more sketchily outlined plan of action. Today's Supernatural is Tare's star turn, as a galaxy of honky-tonk synth cacophony showers us in glee, though it takes Brothersport and its lyrics of opening up to really slacken the apathy. Come this time on a Sunday it'd take something peculiarly special to provoke such rapturous reaction, and this one still stands as really quite something. It's the sound of their every post-'Pavilion imitator amalgamated into six-or-so, and enriched absolutely infinitely. A propulsive, fluoro afro-throwdown, it's AnCo recollected and recomposed to a most revitalising effect. It's rammed home and thwacked out into next week by the thumping palpitations of Peacebone, as Tare's erratic yowls and Lennox' squishy, schizoid harmonies come together to enthral as they've not done in blogospheric aeons. It's their native atmosphere, and arguably the one they're still most comfortable in. But the spheres of live and LP listenability aren't as mutually exclusive as blacks and whites, just as the troupe's two primary architects can sporadically splurge together their creative talents to make for an exceedingly agreeable grey.

The inertia that has long since been indicative of the evening staves off for an encore comprising a dusted-down Cobwebs, rousing Amanita, and a stereotypically lively My Girls. Though it's lyrics from deep within this last one that both define and contradict a changing approach to live music. For whilst Tare may preach in a nasal, deadpan drone: "I don't mean to seem like I care about material things/ Like our social stats" as we blare along in unison, there are approximately thirty iPhones held aloft at any one time, each documenting a sense of superiority and exclusivity whilst detracting from the experience of the actual now. These social stats find themselves in a constant state of flux, as do Animal Collective. And an in some way extravagant encore that's as heavily documented as any presidential election snatches the quartet from the jaws of discontent, even if elsewhere the mood did oscillate up and down; down and then up like a Uruguayan.

They depart promising to one day return to work through the insistently heckled-for likes of For Reverend Green et al. and in some respects, this has been a purposeful muddying of their Merriweather paw tracks and the universal successes of. Cohesive? Yes, in that all older works selected may be acutely aligned with their present experiments. Collected, though? Perhaps less so, for this one's neither the fabled modern-day phenomenon that is the fan show, nor one for those splattered in garish face paints beside the bars. Thus whilst the schismatic artwork to Centipede Hz dilates into life with the aid of such great inflatables, the album itself oddly lost some of its turbulent vibrancy live.