AOTY 2023
Animal Collective - Time Skiffs
Feb 12, 2022
Truth be told, the last 10 years have been pretty rough for Animal Collective, the albums that they put out in that space of time have proved to be some of the groups weakest material and they just seemed to lack the spark, creativity and staying power that some of their best albums had. Admittedly, since my initial dive into their discography a couple of years back I haven't frequented their music, I feel like I should since my taste has evolved and my writing has improved but either way AnCo happens to just stroll along and incentivises me to do so with their new album 'Time Skiffs' which is a great leap forward for the group and it's probably the best album they've put out in a very long time.

'Time Skiffs' might not be a hugely explorative album on the surface but that doesn't really matter when the tracks themselves are just really damn great sonically, which they are in this case and there's barely even an instance where I can call the album sonically underwhelming. The album itself feels akin to the Neo-Psych, Psych Pop side of AnCo that we loved on records like 'Merriweather Post Pavilion', but this time it just feels like the group want to soak you into the bombastic bliss presented here and it feels like they're just looking to do it at their best, which I feel like they manage to achieve. The group themselves sound very comfortable in this palette and they make it their business to let you know that since they produce nothing but encapsulating soundscapes that suits the bassy production as well as the creative and free flowing instrumentation incredibly well. There's a distance to the production that feels dub inspired and it only adds to the accented textures we see the band go for, as I mentioned it suits the instrumentation well and it also suits the bombastic nature of some sounds here, they make tracks like 'Strung on Everything' exciting and thoroughly enjoyable but the more calm moments are just as fantastic. The group vocals sounds fantastic on 'Time Skiffs' too, AnCo never really disappoint on that front and the catchy pop melodies are so soothing in this Psychedelic palette, there's so many catchy vocals to be found here and it gives some tracks here a blissful edge.

The pacing towards the end of the album is probably the only knock I can give 'Time Skiffs', mainly because of one particularly weak track, but that's it really since I just loved a lot of what I was hearing, AnCo sound invigorated once again and I can see this being not only one of the my favourite albums of 2022, but also as one of the best albums in the Animal Collective discography. It's a dense bit of catchy, blissful psychedelia that often just leaves you to transcend, it's very dense and creative yet lush and I love it, and I'm also glad to say that AnCo are back at their best.

Best Tracks: Strung on Everything, Cherokee and Royal and Desire
Worst Track: We Go Back

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