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Animal Collective Time Skiffs

On their eleventh studio album Animal Collective refine the experimental quirks brought forward from previous records, resulting in what may be their most cohesive and safe project to date.

Released: 4 February 2022
Time Skiffs

With a discography reaching back to the turn of the century, Avey Tare (David Portner), Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), Deakin (Josh Dibb) and Geologist (Brian Weitz) have spent much of their teenage and adult lives as Animal Collective. Their early sound was characterised by a clash of pop melodies and relentless electronic motifs, themes that were often separated from one another, but when combined produced some of the group’s most inspired creations.

Time Skiffs does not attempt to recapture the abrasive soundscapes of past works. Instead it sits back, relaxes and floats downstream. On opener ‘Dragon Slayer’, the shuffle-beat and swirling synths help to establish an ethereal production quality that courses through the entire album. ‘Car Keys’ is a dream-like jaunt layered with acoustic percussion and glittering chimes, before moving into the pure psychedelia of ‘Prester John’ where the band come into their element.

At points, Time Skiffs gets lost in its own dreamy indulgences. ‘Cherokee’s echoey crescendo does not save the rest of its 7:50 runtime from feeling little more than an interlude. Penultimate track ‘We Go Back’ captures a bright yet agitated mood that’s immediately soothed by the intoxicating tranquility of ‘Royal and Desired’, diving back into the rippling pool of strings and drums from which we started.

Time Skiffs shows Animal Collective’s ability to refine previous ideas to create an LP that avoids gimmicks. Although sonically luxurious throughout, fans may be disappointed by the more restrained and understated approach. Personally, this change of pace feels as organic as the album to match.

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