I will always remember a one John Cooper for (at least) three things:
1) The way that Brit could strike a football. Seriously, that mofo could kick.
2) The "Tamla Motown" shirt he gave me (which I think came from his brother) that I still own and wear to this day
3) "My Girls"
During my former life as a TEFL teacher, one evening in 2009 I found myself sitting in a high rise apartment in Xi'an, China, and while the legendary Rob "Potato" Ansell lurked about, Mr. Cooper and I were sharing musical preferences with each other. During the exchange, Animal Collective's recently released Merriweather Post Pavilion was given the spotlight. The aforementioned "My Girls" caught my attention, but the rest of the album was captivating enough to maintain my intrigue. I've been waiting for an effort from the band to match it since. Whether under the collective (no pun intended) name or via solo offshoots, the members of Animal Collective have continued to pump out music since that 2009 LP. Most of it has done little for me. The announcement of each subsequent release has been the pairing of piqued interest followed by disappointment. Rinse and repeat. Until Time Skiffs.
I am more surprised than anyone to be writing about the eleventh, (or seventh, kind of) release from the Baltimoreans, given that the output following Merriweather Post Pavilion has largely left little worth re-listening to. Unfortunate, yes, but it also makes Time Skiffs that much more of a treat. This latest will most certainly not be for everyone, but it incorporates the best of Animal leaders Avey Tare and Panda Bear, while embracing the occasional Brian Wilson influence, along with moments of early 70s Grateful Dead, Syd Barrett-era Floyd, and even a certain aquatic animal, all of which results in the most cohesive effort from the band in a dozen years. While I may undertand where those other artists come from, I make no such proclamations for Animal Collective. There's is a different wavelength, yet my curiosity will continue, much like it has this past decade. Time Skiffs.