Review

Animal Collective

Isn’t It Now?

Domino • 2023

Just a year and a half after »Time Skiffs«, Animal Collective have released their next LP. Does that make »Isn’t It Now?« something of a quick fix? Yes, but a quick fix in the best sense of the word: Seemingly thrown together spontaneously, without giving much thought to consistent album concepts or a new direction for the sound, the band brings together a wide variety of songs on the album. After a few brief snippets of studio chatter, »Soul Capturer« soon washes over you with the all-too-familiar psych-folk of Baltimore, Maryland’s Animal Collective, still heavily supported by electronic equipment, but without becoming too noisy or leading to sensory overload.

On the one hand, there is the 22-minute »Defeat«, which meanders somnambulistically for a long time, only to reveal a poppy, upbeat part as a hidden song-within-a-song after more than nine minutes. On the other hand, there’s the almost classic piano ballad »Stride Rite« with rare vocals from Deacon, or the light-footed vibe of »Gem & I«, composed of Caribbean drum rhythms and catchy vocals describing simple pleasures like turning your face to the sun and cracking open a new beer. The concentrated listener is rewarded with relatively small moments and Animal Collective’s organically matured trademark mixture – the fact that the pieces don’t always fit together only adds to their charm.