American experimental outfit Animal Collective have dropped one final single before their eleventh studio album, Time Skiffs, is officially released on Friday.
The cascading vocal lines of ‘We Go Back’ is pure Animal Collective, but the strange amount of space and air throughout the arrangement is a left-turn from the band’s more dense pop efforts from Time Skiffs so far like ‘Strung With Everything’ and ‘Prester John’. I’m not used to this strange amount of vulnerability from a band who love to jam-pack their songs with as many bizarre melodies and atypical sounds as possible.
For the first two minutes, though, it’s a typical song structure: intro, verse, chorus. It almost sounds like the song is going to stay that way, but then you remember that this is Animal Collective and you should never expect them to be that straightforward. As the song completely fades, a seemingly totally different song arrives, bringing in a new narrative that’s far darker than the rest of the material. It’s a slowed down and pitch-shifted coda that epitomises why these guys are so unique as a band. No one else would have thought to end their track in such a manner.
Since this is an Animal Collective song, you know that it has to come complete with a trippy new video too. This one is directed by Winston Hacking, whose psychedelic and occasionally nightmarish imagery has previously brought to life videos from the likes of Flying Lotus, Run the Jewels, and BADBADNOTGOOD.
“It was a thrill to work with Animal Collective – they trusted our sense of play and commitment to spontaneity which is mirrored in their sound,” says Hacking. “The video is composed of scanned locations, miniature sets and collage cut outs that embrace the low-fi 3d aesthetic inherent in photogrammetry.”
So here’s your big roundup just before Time Skiffs comes out: it’s Animal Collective’s eleventh album, but only their fifth featuring contributions from all four official band members and the first to feature the complete quartet since 2012’s Centipede Hz. It’s got a great psychedelic pop sound and heavily features more off the wall acoustic instrumentation like xylophones and tack pianos than the band’s typical penchant for electronica. I’ve heard it, and it’s pretty great to my ears.
Check out the video for ‘We Go Back’ down below. Time Skiffs is hurtling towards its February 4th release date at lightning speed.