Tan­ger­ine Reef (Domino) Rat­ing: NNNN Aquatic seascapes of alien co­ral with neon ten­drils spawn and sway in cos­mic co­ex­is­tence while am­bi­ent sound­scapes flow flu­idly in the back­ground. That’s what com­prises Tan­ger­ine Reef, An­i­mal Col­lec­tive’s new au­dio­vi­sual al­bum. And what else would you ex­pect from the mas­ters of avant-pop ex­per­i­men­tal­ism?

If you’re look­ing for some­thing akin to the bom­bas­tic up­beat dance hits from An­i­mal Col­lec­tive’s last full-length al­bum, 2016’s Paint­ing With, you won’t find them here. But com­par­i­son is fu­tile when you con­sider the con­text of the band’s 11th stu­dio al­bum. It was recorded as a live set at an event called Co­ral Orgy, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with art-sci­ence duo Co­ral Mor­pho­logic in hon­our of the 2018 In­ter­na­tional Year of the Reef to raise aware­ness about the threat to the world’s co­ral reefs. And in that light, AnCo’s strangely sen­sual drones are a per­fect fit.

The 13-track al­bum evokes what life un­der­wa­ter would prob­a­bly feel like. It swims smoothly through an ex­per­i­men­tal stream, drown­ing lis­ten­ers in an all-en­gulf­ing sen­sory ex­pe­ri­ence. Open­ing track Hair Cut­ter pulls you right into the ex­pan­sive abyss of the big, bad, blue sea. It’s slow and smooth and glim­mery with Avey Tare’s voice mud­dled and murky, a con­sis­tency in the vo­cals through­out.

Tare is joined by Ge­ol­o­gist and Deakin on this al­bum – the ab­sence of Panda Bear and his high-en­ergy beats is ev­i­dent. There are no real stand­out hits due to the slow, in­ter­twin­ing na­ture of the al­bum, yet it seems to pick up a lit­tle bit around the ninth track, Hip Sponge, with its higher tempo and breath­less chant­ing of the lyrics “eye on the prize.”

Fans of AnCo’s more up­beat and an­i­mated works prob­a­bly won’t love this al­bum, but it is suc­cess­ful in its ex­per­i­men­ta­tion and as an af­fir­ma­tion that they have and al­ways will have some­thing unique to bring to the table. Top Track: Hip Sponge

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