Animal Collective
Time Skiffs


3.5
great

Review

by Sunnyvale STAFF
February 6th, 2022 | 279 replies


Release Date: 2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A colorful slab of psychedelic warmth

I never anticipated that I’d be reviewing an Animal Collective album. For me, they’ve always proved to be one of those ever-frustrating bands, the type that fellow music fans I respect seem to adore, while proving completely elusive to my own ears. The wild praise which is thrown about for a revered work like Fall Be Kind , “an atmospheric masterpiece” and the like, always draws me in every few years, only to be disappointed once more. Sure, it’s a good EP, but what am I missing? That said, I quite liked Avey Tare’s 2019 solo effort Cows On Hourglass Pond , and the lush nature of Animal Collective’s latest album artwork turned out to be hard to resist, so I gave this a go. Now here we are…

Time Skiffs is a bit of an odd bird to write about. It’s an album with numerous fairly obvious defects, but also one that exudes a sort of mellow sunniness which ends up being quite addictive. It’s styled (I suspect) as a summer album, but with freezing rain and frigid winds lashing the windows, I’ve been turning to this record over and over, leaving many theoretically better-suited albums from a busy release week untouched.

As might be gathered from the first paragraph, I’m far from an expert on Animal Collective’s discography as a whole, especially their recent output, which I gather hasn’t been particularly well-received. I’m therefore not in a position to adjudicate definitively if Time Skiffs is a “return to form” or really to compare it broadly to anything else in their considerable body of work. However, what can be stated is that the nine tunes which comprise Time Skiffs are a fairly accessible and engaging piece of folk-tinged psych. In discussion of the album, comparisons to Fleet Foxes have cropped up repeatedly, and as a point of reference it’s quite apt. While the songs here are, frankly, just weirder than virtually all of Fleet Foxes’ output, they share a certain DNA, a tuneful sophistication mixed with a sense of brightness. The sound here is also quite nostalgic, both because its melodies periodically provide a sense of “ye-olde medieval times” and because of the vaguely Eastern-ish rhythms which pop up and evoke some of the Beatles’ ragga experimentations.

The weaknesses of Time Skiffs are readily apparent. Notably, a number of these songs overstay their welcome (and worse, it’s not just the lengthier tracks which suffer from this ailment, even if the stretched-out “Strung With Everything” proves to be one of the more egregious offenders). Additionally, this is a release which thrives on atmosphere rather than memorable moments, which are rather sparse. The catchy grooviness of “Prester John” and the melodious rambling of “Cherokee” are two clear highlights, but they’re the exception to the rule. However, beyond these issues Time Skiffs simply has a lot of merit. There are two remarkably impressive aspects of the record. First, Animal Collective managed to accomplish a neat trick here (don’t ask me how): while a bunch of the individual songs go on longer than they need to, the album as a whole doesn’t feel overstuffed, and more often than not I’m eager to drench myself its sun-soaked vibes all over again right after finishing a spin. Second, the veteran group has managed to get a long-suffering skeptic to care about their music, indeed, enough to write four mostly-positive paragraphs about this late-career release. What a world!



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user ratings (161)
3.4
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sunnyvale
Staff Reviewer
February 6th 2022


6042 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Don't think this review is my finest work, but this deserved a writeup and I've been spinning it a lot, so here we go!

DoofDoof
February 6th 2022


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is growing on me a fair bit

Gyromania
February 6th 2022


37227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Very, very boring album after one full listen. Unsure if I'll replay it

DoofDoof
February 6th 2022


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

One listen definitely not enough - it’s nicely understated for them, think the right direction



Less hocketing

theBoneyKing
February 6th 2022


24574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah I couldn’t imagine dismissing an AnCo related release after one listen unless you find it like actively offensive - their stuff almost always reveals its layers gradually over repeated spins.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 6th 2022


27854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

they should have hocketed twice as fast

DoofDoof
February 6th 2022


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Hyper hocketing is the future

Piglet
February 6th 2022


8501 Comments


can't wait to be disappointed by this

DoofDoof
February 6th 2022


15481 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Surprised the review summary wasn’t ‘skiffs for days’

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
February 6th 2022


27854 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

hocketing so fast that it's just one continuous tone...oh how I wish animal collective had gone deeper into hocketing...

beefshoes
February 6th 2022


8443 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent return to form.

Gyromania
February 6th 2022


37227 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Lol I don't have to be offended by something to rationalize not wanting to replay an album that bored me to tears on first listen. That's nonsense, man.

Ryus
February 6th 2022


37518 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

great album for sure

theBoneyKing
February 6th 2022


24574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I mean if you were completely new to the band I’d get it Gyro, it’s just kind of a weird approach if you’re someone who has loved the band’s works in the past, and especially a band who are known as growers. But I also tend to listen to almost everything I try at least 3 times even if I don’t like it. Different strokes though, I guess.

Slex
February 6th 2022


16805 Comments


A lot of people are saying the closer is stunning and the best song and I peeped that and it was the most boring song I've ever heard from this band and now I probably won't listen to this tbh

theBoneyKing
February 6th 2022


24574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The closer sounds nothing like the rest of this fwiw

Cormano
February 6th 2022


4202 Comments


this is just Spyro the Dragon soundtrack with vocals

ShartHarder
February 6th 2022


165 Comments


edit - wrong thread. doh

Slex
February 6th 2022


16805 Comments


Boney that's worth a lot, I'll throw this on sometime in the next week then

theBoneyKing
February 6th 2022


24574 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ok maybe not nothing like the rest, like everything here is recognizable as AnCo, but that one is def a different style/vibe than the rest.



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