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Number 59: Animal Collective – Sung Tongs

#59 – Animal Collective – Sung Tongs

What I always found special about listening to ‘Sung Tongs’ was its ability to reminisce on the past.
A song ‘We Tigers’ express this as almost as if they are moments pulled from our unfeigned memories. Dancing around with masks, beating of drums, shrieking like a child in such a vivid detail it feels as if you are there.

Sung Tongs was the earliest of the releases that really bonded with me both due to themes as well as it’s ability to create more arching melodies that didn’t just feel like art students banging pots and pans and screeching. Of course the last comment was not to offend the art community but rather bring to attention at what Animal Collective had been slowly attempting to do.

At the heart of the album is primordial and the ability to live and thrive, a very Peter Pan-like quality.

‘Winter’s Love’ on the surface is so beautifully written that if handled in the wrong hands could musically sound very schlocky. The song challenges that same childlike premise, suggesting that more than just foreplay happened on this winter evening and turned that boy into a man. While there is no suggestion that this was completely innocent or lacks a certain level of complication, (I mean when is sex not complicated) there is still a level of vigor to the event but also a level of transformation. That boy turned into a man.

The soul of the band has been it’s strong understanding of rhythm. It’s the drumcircle, or the campfire songs, the most primitive nature at which we listened to music in the first place and they slowly begin to expand this onto a broader stage.

Maybe as I get older and consider my own mortality I see that in my son, this concept of life, the random shrieks or the banging of pots and to conclude there has been a level of comfort from the album. I am reminded in songs like ‘Who Could Win a Rabbit’, that Mr. Ferris Bueller, said it best when he said, “Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once and awhile you can miss it.”

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