It’s been nearly six years since Animal Collective released Painting With, their tenth studio album — but according to Noah Lennox (AKA Panda Bear), the time flew by. Each member of AnCo is immensely collaborative, constantly working on projects either in a solo capacity or with other members of the band. And now, on Friday (February 4th), Animal Collective are gearing up to release the gorgeous, captivating Time Skiffs. It’s their eleventh (!) studio album, and one of their finest to date.
Time Skiffs was initially hyped to be something akin to 2007’s Strawberry Jam (which turns 15 years old this year), but upon listening, there’s an ease with which Animal Collective can pull off the most complicated and intricate patterns. On the album are meditations on growing older and parenthood, all channeled through a frenetic energy that feels more like an elongated exhale instead of a gasp for breath. The drums are live, but never bombastic; the harmonies are rich and controlled, and the transitions between songs and even moments within songs are dealt with just enough restraint to create a compelling project.
The ever-humble Lennox feels that when the four artists (Panda Bear, Avey Tare, Geologist, and Deakin) meet to create together, they’ll pretty much just pick up where they left off. “It’s all sort of one ‘river of creation,’ in a way,” says Lennox, “one thing feeds into the next.” Not only that, he’s very confident about representing Time Skiffs live, with a 2022 North American tour scheduled for this spring (you can find tickets for it here).
It’s been a storied career already for Animal Collective, and their influence on modern pop and indie has certainly made its way to the next generation. There’s a collaborative spirit and a sort of restless passion that guides every Animal Collective album, and Time Skiffs is a brilliant step forward into a new era of the band.
Consequence caught up with Noah Lennox, who currently lives in Portugal, to chat about Time Skiffs, its sonic inspiration points, the future of Animal Collective, and much more. Read the full Q&A below.