Tangerine Reef

Animal Collective - Tangerine Reef
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2018 Ratings: #724 / 760
User Score
Based on 196 ratings
2018 Ratings: #1059
Liked by 1 person
August 17, 2018 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
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Northern Transmissions
The album is beautifully conceived, and works great as a listen in one sitting. Close your eyes and let the uncanny yet strangely funny sea creatures flit around.

Tangerine Reef is a project that may likely polarize Animal Collective fans, and it may not be an ideal jumping-off point for anyone looking to discover this unique band, but it's a worthy addition to their catalog, and it supports a supremely important cause in this day and age.

NOW Magazine
Fans of AnCo’s more upbeat and animated works probably won’t love this album, but it is successful in its experimentation and as an affirmation that they have and always will have something unique to bring to the table.
It's not necessarily a masterpiece nor was it ever meant to be a grand statement that'd capture everyone's attention; a low-key unveiling is more fitting, for it's the Collective's return to form, except in a way that nobody expected.
Drowned in Sound
The result is an album steeped in murky ambiance and stuffy reverb, celestial and ghostly, minute details strewn across the soundwaves to emulate the floating presences of the minute, drifting sea creatures.

Like any visual album, the floating sounds here are probably best experienced in conjunction with the visuals they were created for, but even on their own, there's a calm power that grows as the various passages of Tangerine Reef fade in and out of one another.

The music itself is beautiful and expansive, if slow and occasionally stagnant, and the perspective it asks you to take offers relief from the anxious refrain of climate doom.

With Tangerine Reef, Animal Collective’s second audiovisual album, the band leans deep into its nautical tendencies, crafting a surreal soundtrack for “avant-garde coral macro-videography” (read: underwater footage of coral reefs).


For fans of Animal Collective's trippier inclinations, Tangerine Reef is a pleasant bit of oceanic escapism. For new listeners or anyone looking for the next "My Girls," this is decidedly inessential.

The Line of Best Fit

I have no doubt that Tangerine Reef will be a remarkable experience when paired with its visual stimuli, but without it, it is an album hard to recommend.

Spectrum Culture
This is the most relaxed and easygoing thing they’ve billed as a full album in over a decade.
This might not be as immediate and catchy as previous Animal Collective releases, possibly due to Panda Bear’s absence, but its one of their most transfixing and beguiling.
Under The Radar

Tangerine Reef has its moments, but it veers in and out of being truly engaging all on its own.

The 405

While Tangerine Reef inspires as a pseudo-political statement regarding the deteriorating environment at the hands of mankind, Animal Collective ultimately disappoints with this record—it’s yet another forgettable checkpoint within the band’s recent run.

FLOOD Magazine

Too much of Tangerine Reef feels like ambient murk in service of nothing.

A.V. Club

The worst way to engage with Tangerine Reef is by listening to it.

The Independent
As an environmental art project raising awareness of endangered coral (it commemorates the 2018 International Year of the Reef), it is laudable. As a listening experience, it is impenetrable.
The Observer

In search, perhaps, of something more profound than the Beach Boys-haunted lo-fi surrealism of early albums, or the fizzing avant-garde electropop that became their calling card after 2009 breakthough album Merriweather Post Pavilion, AC plumb depths of paucity more than subtlety in this wilfully desolate expanse of dispassionate vocals and vague, awkward ambience.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Tangerine Reef is more like the sound of pretending to experience something profound.

By the end of its relentlessly boring sonic onslaught, you may be the one that feels like an endangered species.
Hey you chose the wrong vocalist, you're not supposed to choose the one that has an ecstatic character (Avey) for an ambient album, you use that one that was boring on Merriweather Post Pavillion and has a voice that falls in the background smh
Space Vacation
It's been two months and I still haven't rated this. I doubt I ever will at this point, honestly.

Promise Broken.

As an ambient record, 'Tangerine Reef' didn't completely blow me away, as the only feeling that I felt throughout was a dull uneasiness that I feel when I don't know if I'm sick or not. Since the vocals were indecipherable and buried under the looping instrumentals, I'm somewhat indecisive. There's nothing to talk about! That's the problem.

Color: White
FAV TRACKS: Jake and Me, Buxom
LEAST FAV: Coral Realization, Hip Sponge, Palythoa
Reminds me a lot of their Campfire Songs album from 2003, back when music fans weren't insanely fickle and self-entitled about what kind of album they thought they deserved from an already-established band...

Favorite Track: Palythoa
...this album sucks.
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Added on: July 8, 2018