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Animal Collective pollutes their discography with ‘Tangerine Reef’

| Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Dominique DeMoe

Animal Collective’s new album kicked off with a pre-release of its first track, “Haircutter,” on the 16th of July this summer. One painfully long month later, their new album “Tangerine Reef” was released in full.

I remember the night it dropped; I immediately went to bed to begin listening to the album. To my surprise, I couldn’t even finish one song.

It’s really not that good.

An assortment of dynamic and passionate songs that didn’t take themselves too seriously is what was expected. It is something that Animal Collective has come to be known by. Instead, the album is a mangled attempt to create some gross sort of artistic soundscape. In short, it disappoints. Animal Collective wasted an entire year on a failed project.

Animal Collective has many cohesive and entertaining albums. However, in creating “Tangerine Reef,” Animal Collective fell into the same recurring experimental traps they fell into on their previous efforts “Here Comes the Indian” and “Transverse Temporal Gyrus.” They really are a sort of hit or miss band — some of their albums are masterpieces, and some are utterly painful. Compared to some of their previous albums like “Merriweather Post Pavilion” and “Strawberry Jam,” Animal Collective regresses from a electro-pop psychedelia group to a nightmarish, warbling composition of sounds on “Tangerine Reef.”

All of the songs for the most part sound the same. Despite this, however, a lackluster standout is “Buxom.” Still, this is only because they use a few samples included in prior albums, reminiscent of much better times for the group. “Haircutter” and “Best of Times (Worst of All)” are tolerable, but listening to them remains a chore. The only real purpose of the album is to put you to sleep. There’s really nothing there. When researching the album for this review, my roommates were asking me things like “What the heck are you listening to?” and “Is that even music?”

I had similar sentiments.

One track that best summarizes that album is “Coral Realization.” It’s about three minutes. The entire song consists of about two samples. The first, is a constant, buzzing crescendo and decrescendo, and it is combined with what sounds like the steering of a large boat. Occasionally we hear other watery samples, but it seems as if AnCo made this song to see if it were even possible that someone might like this sort of music. It’s more than rather boring.

As much as I did not enjoy the album, I will acknowledge one aspect Animal Collective that did not fail to deliver — one that they have never failed to deliver. They hit their mark. This album was published to promote awareness regarding an increase in ocean pollution, and the album certainly had a watery, dystopian feel. They made sure to incorporate many oceanic samples and feelings, and the dark and gloomy tones help to portray the degradation of oceanic ecosystems like coral reefs.

Now, just because something has a noble cause, does not mean it is good. The preservation of oceans is wholeheartedly a good thing, but this is a bad album. So, if you think you’d like to listen an underwater collage of impending doom, “Tangerine Reef” is the album for you.

Overall, this album made me feel like a Dad disciplining a child.

“I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.”


Artist: Animal Collective

Album: Tangerine Reef

Label: Domino Recording Co. Ltd.

Favorite Track: Buxom

If you like: Deerhunter, Atlas Sound, Grizzly Bear

Shamrocks: 1 out of 5

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