Animal Collective: Time Skiffs

Animal Collective feels like they wanted to voyage in the mainstream with 2009’s Merriweather Post Pavilion. Since then, though, the band has experimented with its avant-garde pop tunes and finds themselves playing it relatively safe with a return to their psychedelic roots. The band’s experimental sound includes loops, voice montages, psychedelic harmonies, along with a touch of electronic grooves. Altogether, the band’s music is as lighthearted as it gets. It also makes the listener want to delve into an acid trip somewhere on a deserted island.

On Time Skiffs, the band’s newest release, finds itself still continuing the tradition and holding on to that tripped out feeling. The opening tunes “Dragon Slayer” and “Car Keys” are classic Animal Collective tunes as funky keyboard strokes and band’s echoing vocals find us laying on a hammock somewhere on the beach.

The album’s lead single “Prester John” takes its name from the mythical figure and the song itself finds itself in an insatiable groove and an addictive sing-along chorus: “Prester John is breaking down, down/his heart is breaking down, down”, possibly alluding to nature and climate change.

“Royal and Desire” closes out Time Skiffs with an ambience that evokes a cross between The Flaming Lips and The Grateful Dead, which the band has been compared to since their inception in 2003. This attractive, desirable tune satisfies the listener, but this is the sound we crave more from Animal Collective: a deep trance vibe that finds us in such a stupor that the listener would need help waking up from.

There are certain elements that continue to help find Animal Collective find their own place and niche in the given music soundscapes of 2022. They keep on challenging themselves with each album, but they have remained true to their art since their formation.

Rating: 8.0/10

Listen on Apple Music

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