If you read this site at all, you know that I picked Sung Tongs as my favorite album of last year. It was a near-perfect album from a group who has been honing their craft for several albums, and their joyous outbursts and rascally output seemed to fall in lock-step with a sort of primal urge one has for making noise. As sort of a little taster to hold over fans until the group releases their next full-length sometime later this year, the group has teamed up with the voice of near-legendary Vashti Bunyan on this four song EP.
Bunyan actually released only one album in 1970, and the fellows in Animal Collective were not only huge fans of that release, but happened to meet her after she played her first show in three decades last year). The group and Bunyan then met up in a studio in the UK and layed down the tracks on the release in only a couple days. Although the release only spans just over fifteen minutes and contains a guest voice, it's definitely a logical progression from the last release as all instrumentation is acoustic and vocal harmonies abound.
The opening track of "It's You" soars on the vocals of Bunyan, lovely washes of acoustic guitar and some quiet piano twinkling while "Prospect Hummer" bounces along with a 4/4 kick beat and more acoustic guitar, as well as more playful vocals from the group and several layers of vocals from Bunyan. The instrumental "Baleen Sample" is the least focused track on the short release (and also the longest), but it works quite well, swirling together layers of field recordings and reverbed acoustic guitars in a way that recalls the back porch Campfire Songs project that the group released a couple years back.
The short release closes with "I Remember Learning How To Dive" and it's another solid release that again finds everyone in a playful mode as clicking skip sounds mingle with handclaps, acoustic guitar, and joyful vocals. One of the biggest problems with the release is that it's simply too short, leaving you wanting to hear more, but with both the Animal Collective and Vashti Bunyan recording new material (for Bunyan, her first in 35 years), I suppose more rewards will come soon enough.