Animal Collective: Tangerine Reef (Domino) Review | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Animal Collective

Tangerine Reef


Aug 30, 2018 Animal Collective Bookmark and Share

As an audiovisual album in tandem with Coral Morphologic, Tangerine Reef is a trippy beauty, with Animal Collective embodying the life of a coral reef and its inhabitants. It’s mesmerizing, slow, gorgeous shots of florescent sea life accompanied by Animal Collective at their most liberated. As a straight album of music, however, Tangerine Reef has its moments, but it veers in and out of being truly engaging all on its own.

At their best, the songs swell and collapse like the undulations of the water, but often they feel aimless and don’t build or crescendo into anything. The beautifully mournful “Jake and Me” is the rare exception of a song that feels like it could exist outside of the project. It’s almost disingenuous to call them “songs” as they feel more like movements, expressions of emotion and beauty, and too free (at best) or meandering (at worst) to adhere to simple structure. At times, like the classic Animal Collective build-up of “Buffalo Tomato,” something grabs one’s attention, but too much of Tangerine Reef is easy enough to ignore.

After a lovely opening, “Palythoa” builds to the shape and rhythm of waves, and then bleeds into the closing “Best of Times (Worst of All),” and, taken as a pair, the two songs are nearing something that eludes the rest of the album, a truly transcendent section where everything falls into place, and the slight discomfort, the feeling of being a step off-kilter, which has long been one of the strengths that separates Animal Collective from other bands, eases. Such moments dot their best work. In effect, one hopes that Tangerine Reef would truly, if only for a moment, embrace its beauty in a straightforward, naked way, but this has never been one of Animal Collective’s goals or concerns. It doesn’t quite get there, though when much of the noise drops away, leaving only a couple of pure notes, “Best of Times (Worst of All)” comes awfully close. (

Author rating: 6/10

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New England
August 30th 2018

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