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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What are your tongs like?
Wow! Not much music like this around. This is to folk what the Flaming Lips is to, err, Rock. Completely tripped-out but completely accessible, it is acoustic music pushed to its literal extreme, a modern day 'Pipers at the Gates of Dawn'. Underscored by often tribal rhythms, the Collective mix extraordinary vocal harmonies with playful electronics to create richly...
Published on 25 Jan. 2005

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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly messy
Each album serves a purpose. Some have been made to come to terms with experiences and feelings, others are made especially for you (the listener), are meant to teach you something, show you something, make you dance, think or initiate you into something. People seem to suggest that Animal Collective (basically the duo of Avey Tare and Panda Bear) is out there to teach...
Published on 5 July 2009 by Guy Peters


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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What are your tongs like?, 25 Jan. 2005
By A Customer
This review is from: Sung Tongs (Audio CD)
Wow! Not much music like this around. This is to folk what the Flaming Lips is to, err, Rock. Completely tripped-out but completely accessible, it is acoustic music pushed to its literal extreme, a modern day 'Pipers at the Gates of Dawn'. Underscored by often tribal rhythms, the Collective mix extraordinary vocal harmonies with playful electronics to create richly orchestrated songs that paradoxically retain a campfire spontaneity whilst being unbelievably well crafted. 'Leaf House' opens the album with spectacular vocal harmonies and a pulsing rhythm, two minutes of madness unrivalled on any record this year. 'The Softest Voice' is haunting spectral folk that shows they can play it straight, a kind of acid comedown from the hyperactive rushes of opening two songs. 'Winters Love' builds from a hushed piece of acoustica not dissimilar from some Four Tet and bursts into a new frenetic tempo, building layers of melody until it reaches an impossibly infectious loop of pastoral glory. 'Kids on Holiday' is a demented trip of distorted, dubby bubbliness which is saturated with childish anticipation and peaks with yells of 'Holidays!' and is much better than I can possibly describe. There are lots of other highlights too numerous to discuss, including the animal stomp of 'We Tigers' and the mind-boggling 'Good Lovin Outside', and there are only two let-downs, the over-long Visiting Friends and the weak last track 'Whattit I done', but nothing detracts this from being possibly the only 5 star album this year.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars C21st Music, 5 May 2004
This review is from: Sung Tongs (Rmst) [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Some music really is new. Animal Collective's new album has echoes of music past - Friends era Beach Boys, Boredoms, Moondog, Cornelius circa Point - but it's all pulled together in a way that is totally current. You'll notice how upon first listen how it's almost too dense, voices are everywhere, the harmonies are as thick as the best Brian Wilson pieces, each track has a rollicking percussion base, a number of acoustic guitars and noises stutter away. But you'll keep coming back and each time you'll make more sense of it. There's enough melody on this album to keep most regular guitar bands going for a whole career.
Sung Tongs has a youthful exuberence to it that is infectious. I've listened to this album at least ten times since I bought it two days ago! And before you compain - this is no rush of first love. The last album that hit me in this way was Boredoms 'Vision Creation Newsun' and that was three years ago! And I still love that record now.
Sung Tongs - add some music to your day!
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational, 27 May 2004
This review is from: Sung Tongs (Rmst) [VINYL] (Vinyl)
I saw Animal Collective live and found myself feeling baffled, amused and inspired all at once. So i bought this album as soon as it was released. It blends a variety of sounds and styles and twists them into an original whole. The music is mostly acoustic although there appears to be electronic manipulation and perculiar effects present. The vocals range from gorgeous harmonies to tribal shouting with unconventional lyrics. It's an offbeat mix of psychedelia, folk, pop and electronics with strange songs structures. I have played it to a number of people but sadly most of them just looked either confused or slightly scared. However, if you are after something weird and different, this may be the best album you'll buy all year. I have no hesitation in giving it 5 stars - pure genius!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars ADD loafy psych folk, 28 Nov. 2004
This review is from: Sung Tongs (Audio CD)
Similar to the reviewer previous, i caught this band live with Mum and was mightily confused... An array of almost Taliking Heads rythmics, early Mercury Rev madness, primal shouting and Tyrannasaurus Rex flambouyance but still all over the place yet exceptionally controlled in their song structures...
The record lived up to everything you see live. Initially it confuses and has a minor tendancy to trundel off down into teenage acidland territory but after a few listens becomes an obsessive listen. Join the daily habit folks, this truly is a little orange flavoured little peach that makes you want to swing from the handrails on the underground and shout in glee.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Expensive, but worth it, 28 April 2010
By 
MFB (Brooklyn, NY, USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sung Tongs [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Although Fat Cat's reissues of Animal Collective's records on vinyl lets you avoid paying eBay prices for the now out of print originals, they are still a pretty penny. Owing in part to the "DMM" mastering, which I think is basically a gimmick to extract more cash from collectors and fans. Regardless, the pressing is flawless and this is a record that is certainly more enjoyable on vinyl. There seemed to be a limited run of these re-pressings and they are disappearing fast (they aren't even available in the States) so get them now, or kick yourself later when they inevitably start appearing on eBay. As for the music, well, it's Sung Tongs. Arguably AC's most cohesive statement and unquestionably one of the great records of the 00s.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Tung Songs, 4 Feb. 2007
By 
E. A Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Sung Tongs (Audio CD)
If Mum or Sigur Ros got invaded by a bunch of acid-tripping folkies, then the result might be something like "Sung Tongs," another unspeakably mad album by the Animal Collective. This bizarre little band continues to push the limits of traditional songcraft and melodies, and leave you feeling mildly nostalgic. Maybe a little dizzy too.

It opens with a spinning, screechy noise -- which would seem to indicate hard-rock to follow. Wrong. Instead, a mellow folky melody and murmuring vocals, which suddenly build and multiply into a chorus of creepy voices. "Leaf House" undulates through a fragmented melody, full of distorted vocals and flowery acid folk.

If that hasn't knocked you off your chair, then the following songs might. "Who Could Win A Rabbit" sounds like your basic country-folk song on mushrooms, and following it is an arc of colourful songs: gossamer-thin guitar ballads, sketchy little experimental songs, hallucinatory folk, spare guitar pop, and.... well, just about everything else.

"Sung Tongs" isn't an easy album to get into -- it's all about the atmosphere, rather than something you can get up and dance to. Granted, a few of the tracks are quite catchy, but in the end it's all about the dark, colourful, disturbing and somehow soothing feeling that the music leaves you with.

It also has some remnants of "Here Comes the Indian," with "We Tigers" turning into a tribal beat-and-chant affair. But most of the time, the Collective tries out other stuff, like paring down the music to just guitar, vocals and spoons. Other times it's a massive, intoxicating swirl of rippling guitar and bass, bands of eerie synth, rattling noises, and the occasional sample. What IS that bubbling sludgey noise?

The Collective also sounds more comfortable here, with chipper vocals and lots of handclaps. You can't make out much of the lyrics, but they're more about being part of the lyrics than about being lyrics -- "Good day outside/Tribe of life and mine and yours/You're so good and natural/Arms appeal/Cause your so/close." Well, whatever.

"Sung Tongs" featured the Animal Collective expanding their already-strange sound even further, until nobody could hope to catch up to the strangeness. Definitely worth hearing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Winters Love, 1 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Sung Tongs (Rmst) [VINYL] (Vinyl)
Used to be one of my least favourite AnCo albums , but after quite a few listens it just clicked. As many of their releases just do. Now I love it.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Folk crazy!, 16 Aug. 2004
By 
Mr. G. C. Cutter "cutter_me" (Manchester) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sung Tongs (Audio CD)
Treading a delicate line between excess and success, Animal Collective make pop songs that'll never be playerd on the radio. All the elements for world-dominating successa are there; strong melodies and friendly instrumentation, but instead of taking the easy road, they playfully rip it up and laugh in the face of normality. Not that this album suffers from pretension, it just happily settles into playing the part of an oddball folk album. Acoustic guitars line up to Native Indian esque drum beats and yelpy vocals to create something special, a discovery.
Leaf House practically swells to bursting point and explodes under it's startling vocal manipulation, morphing it's pleasant vocal melody into a haunting cackling, while Who Could Win a Rabbit, the album's obvious single, skips on breakneck chord changes and communal handclaps, while being as inviting as a birthday party. We Tigers is almost tribal with it's multi layered chorus and expressive delivery, coming across as a hunting song. Avery Tare growls, whispers and screams as he closes for the kill, whereas Good Loving Outside swells into a series of seagull caws before receeding into it's mellow acousitc guitar melody. At times like these, it feels like you're being treated to an all expenses paid trip to Africa
But sometimes the album misses. The breathy vocals on The Softest Voice lack enough substance to keep the song from drifting from memory, whereas Meeting Friends is about 6 minutes too long. Despite it clocking in at around a hefty 14 minutes, it's minimal chords and swirly whispers only really hit home when listened through headphones, where the effect is much more impressive. The guitar pings and vocal swirls gradually melt away as gusts of wind slither from ear to ear.
This song in particular shows why the album only gets 4 stars and not 5. It demands so much attention, that it is almost impossible to fully realise and enjoy. My recommendation is you keep the album tucked away, so you can soak it up the next time you hve 40 minutes to spare.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly messy, 5 July 2009
By 
Guy Peters - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Sung Tongs (Audio CD)
Each album serves a purpose. Some have been made to come to terms with experiences and feelings, others are made especially for you (the listener), are meant to teach you something, show you something, make you dance, think or initiate you into something. People seem to suggest that Animal Collective (basically the duo of Avey Tare and Panda Bear) is out there to teach you how to use your imagination, as their music offers so little to hold on to that you're required to fill in the gaps yourself. Those who enjoyed it a lot (a large group of people, as it topped many end of year-lists) even went as far as to compare it to a kind of religious experience, or a way to live through a state of childish euphoria a second time, with "childish" not standing for immature/juvenile, but pure/direct/free from any limitations. I can't deny that they actually accomplished this feat - the album does sound like the product of boundless imagination, with its pseudo-spontaneous songs, group therapy chants and tribal ambiance, but that's exactly what bugs me about the whole shebang. There have always been artists around that propagated a kind of back to basics/nature/purity-aesthetic, which always seems a silly way of escapism to me. But hey, I never said I was indifferent to the pitfalls of our cultural discourse. Now, as to how they took it to practise: by creating a bunch of "tongs," which are "about returning to an old house, doing nothing with friends or making sounds with bones": simple and pure fun. Right. It starts off very promising, though, with the drunken stupor of "Leaf House," a kind of campfire symphony with sparse instrumentation (guitar, percussion) and - most importantly - layers of dazzlingly arranged, harmonizing vocals that even recall the Beach Boys' vocal gymnastics. It's almost a sheer cacophony, but somehow the song managed to invoke a dream-like atmosphere that constantly walks the thin line between randomness and direction. The brief slice of ecstasy "Who Could Win a Rabbit" is even better, as folk instrumentation, tape manipulation and random sounds are combined and turned into one hell of a mess that almost succeeds in taking you into another mindset. Sadly enough, this is where excitement comes to a halt, as the remainder of the album seems to have been intended as a long string of free-floating pieces that try to reconcile elements from psychedelic music (manipulations, eerie vocal melodies), folk and experimental music. The contemplative "The Softest Voice" may evoke unreal rituals and barren landscapes, the childish vocals in the second half of "Winters Love" might crack you up, just like "Kids on Holiday" (Syd Barrett goes to the jungle), but from that point onwards the album descends into a long-winded mess that just relies too much on its own idiosyncratic tricks, twist and turns (which is reminiscent of the way in which CocoRosie's self-absorption made 'em deliver not enough memorable substance). "Visiting Friends" is a twelve-minute bore, "We Tigers" suggests what a collaboration of Rhythm of the Saints-era Paul Simon with The Butthole Surfers might sound like (it's HORRIBLE), while the final few (s)(t)ongs of the album have the storage life of a fart, and God knows I really, really tried to give 'm a second chance. And a third and fourth. Sung Tongs managed to do what very few albums have been capable of before: grabbing my attention with the opening attack and gradually raising the annoyance level to a dangerous high. Perhaps I'm flushing my indie cred down the drain with statements like this (or maybe it's just that I don't have the imagination that's required to absorb this album and help me create my own little universe of purity and happiness), but boy, Sung Tongs isn't a very good album, or is it?
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Sung Tongs by Animal Collective (Audio CD - 2013)
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