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New Album Review - Does Animal Collective’s ‘Time Skiffs’ Meet Endlessly High Expectations?

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> New Album Review - Does Animal Collective’s ‘Time Skiffs’ Meet Endlessly High Expectations?

Ethereal psychedelic wizards Animal Collective returned as a full band in 2022, the first time in exactly ten years that the four members, Avey Tare, Deakin, Geologist, and Panda Bear, have collaborated in the studio together. As only their fifth record as a complete group, does Time Skiffs hold up with the strong legacy they established over a decade ago? Continue below to find out!

As on every record, Animal Collective drift disorientedly in their musical approach from track to track, though they admittedly have a more defined concept for most of the songs on Time Skiffs. The frequently fine-tuned melodies recall the pop appeal of their commercial masterpiece Merriweather Post Pavilion, resembling once more an avant-garde answer to The Beach Boys. Trying to offset their focused methods with the atmospheric freedom they so treasure, the total sum of Time Skiffs never quite pulls hard enough in either direction to make a clear statement on both fronts. Animal Collective is thankfully still experimenting while recalling the fruitful 2000s heyday of their strongest artistic statements as a band (Feels and Strawberry Jam). However, even if Time Skiffs is more musically successful than AnCo's recent releases, it cannot fully capture its intended balance of both worlds and ranks below the four other quartet albums.

The Verdict on 'Time Skiffs'

An occasional expert display of songcraft mixed in with an infrequent recall of their past makes for a disconnected experience on Animal Collective’s new album. No one can accuse them of not being intelligent musicians; on their best songs here, they find conciseness in lengthy runtimes, like on “Cherokee,” or conjure a vigorous youthful fire, like on the opening track, “Dragon Slayer.” On this handful of songs, Animal Collective show even today that there is no other band quite like them out there.

Rating: 6/10

★★★★★★☆☆☆☆

Tracklist

  • 1. Dragon Slayer

  • 2. Car Keys

  • 3. Prester John

  • 4. Strung With Everything

  • 5. Walker

  • 6. Cherokee

  • 7. Passer-by

  • 8. We Go Back

  • 9. Royal and Desire

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