Animal Collective - Sung Tongs (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick

Animal Collective

Sung Tongs (2004)

Fat Cat

While this could be considered their fifth album, Animal Collective seems to have retained the same folk/pop experimentalism that they founded their career on back in 2000. Or so the other reviews say. To tell you the truth, this is the first Animal Collective release I've heard, and I feel like I've been wasting years of my life not listening to this group. Sung Tongs is twelve songs full of jangly, poppy acoustic melodies with auxiliary percussion galore. While I like to compare the guitars to wind chimes, others might overlook that and go straight on to comparisons to Simon And Garfunkel (but you know, a Simon And Garfunkel on crazy drugz).

Lyrically, this band seems to be full of nonsense. The opener of the record "Leaf House" ends with a chanting of "kitties" whilst the group meows in the background. While the rest of the album is almost indecipherable, you'll find yourself not caring because Avey Tare and Panda Bear's vocals are that melodically soothing. Melody in vocals is pursued even further when they hit a pentatonic scale in "Leaf House," or the multiple barbershop quartet-esque "College," where they sing in unison the one simple line "You don't have to go to college," a line that's so simple in nature, yet powerful and makes me feel guilty for listening to it while I'm walking through the hallways of the 623 S. Michigan Building. To be honest, I'm pretty sure half of the lyrics are just the names of different animals. I'm pretty darn sure I just heard them shouting, "katydid" on "We Tigers."

What really makes this album is the experimentalism present in the song structure form. Layers of different vocal melodies and different types of percussion give it an almost world beat feel, while the layered wind-chime acoustic guitar puts me at ease and reminds me of lying out in my old backyard, painted emerald but soaking in the sun. And when it comes down to it, that's what this is. This is an album to listen to while sitting in the sun and soaking up its warm loving rays. Flawless, gorgeous, and top runner for album of 2004.