Animal Collective

Record review

Phases & Stages

Animal Collective

Sung Tongs (FatCat) While it's certainly plausible to view Brooklyn's Animal Collective as a psychedelic folk hybrid, the duo's overbearing reductive tendencies make this something of a misnomer in the populist sense. When Avey Tare and Panda Bear stumble upon something resembling a conventional song structure, they zealously drown it in a swirling mass of repetition, monosyllabic vocal chants, and looped noise. You can imagine a modern-day Syd Barrett coming up with similar ideas after being locked in a closet with a laptop. "Leaf House" evokes both tension and whimsy with its cyclical interplay among percussion, guitar, and vocals. By contrast, "The Softest Voice" is an aural collage eschewing form for texture. The lilting six-minute trance roughly approximates the noise that might waft through the ether early Sunday morning at an artist's retreat. A short-but-sweet high point is "College," a twisted nod to Beach Boy harmonies colliding with the sound of frying eggs. Or is that your brain? Clocking in at 12 minutes, "Visiting Friends" is the midway demarcation where Sung Tongs either solidifies its spell or really starts to piss you off. This exhaustive, seemingly random soundscape might enhance your next black-light drug ritual, but it could just as easily induce an embarrassing visit to the freak-out tent. Is this artful challenge or solipsistic thwackery? Think about that too much and you might go slightly mad. (Animal Collective plays Emo's Tuesday, Aug. 31.)

**.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Spray Paint
Into the Country (Record Review)

Raoul Hernandez, Dec. 13, 2019

Texas Platters
Graham Reynolds
Marfa: A Country & Western Big Band Suite (Record Review)

Rick Weaver, Nov. 22, 2019

More by Greg Beets
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
Our Music Critics Pick Their Top 10 Austin Albums of 2018
80 local picks from Molly Burch to Brownout

Dec. 28, 2018

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle