Classic Album Review: Animal Collective- Sung Tongs

Full Title: Sung Tongs
Artist: Animal Collective
Year: 2004
Label: Fat Cat
1) Leaf House- 7
2) Who Could Win a Rabbit- 9
3) The Softest Voice- 7
4) Winters Love– 9
5) Kids On Holiday- 7/8
6) Sweet Road- 7
7) Visiting Friends- 6
8) College- 7
9) We Tigers- 8
10) Mouth Wooed Her- 7/8
11) Good Lovin Outside- 8
12) Whaddit I Done- 7

Comments: Animal Collective is in the haus with some wonderful tongs for you and me. These tongs are brought to you by Panda Bear and Avey Tare, two of today’s greatest tongwriters. On this record, we hear mostly soft tongs, an incredibly warm, serene vibe is communicated. Much of the loud, manic, beastial quality to AC’s music as can be seen in their then previous release Here Comes the Indian (2003) and later recordings is absent here. Instead, we experience something much gentler and calmer- which isn’t bad, but at the end of the day isn’t what I chiefly adore about this group. With that being said, it works quite well on this record and emotional inducing songs like “Winters Love” and “Kids On Holiday” (particularly the former) produce a massive feeling of nostalgia and an almost quiet joy in me. WL is without a doubt one of AC’s best musical moments, powerful in it’s shamanistic yalping and simply acoustic guitar strummin’. Speaking of which, the acoustic guitar plays a crucial role in the sound and recording of this album; it’s all acoustic! Naturally, the lack of electric guitar has an undeniable impact on the sound/production of the album, and for fans of more folkier music this might be a positive thang, for those that dig heavier music, then I could easily see this as a turn off. In any case, I feel like the boys succeeded in what they set out to do and though it lacks in the oft-seen menace of AC, it still delivers a bizarre mish mash of humanity and insanity- especially on what is arguably the band’s first breakthrough “pop” song “Who Could Win A Rabbit,” which was my introduction to their music. Rabbit’ is both playful and savage and is perhaps the biggest song from Sung Tongs. As a whole, I didn’t love this record, but I really dig it; ST marks Animal Collective’s transition from unknown Neo-Psych Rockers to fairly recognizable underground stalwurts.

Grade: 7/10

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