On Sung Tongs, their first record distributed by FatCat, the two-man Animal Collective come on like sun-scorched acid eaters gathered around the campfire, strumming and grinning while they weave their material out of cyclical singalongs and tight harmonies. Surprisingly, both for fans as well as new additions, that marks a much more accessible sound for a group that had previously probed the outer limits of prog and psychedelia. (Still, back to basics is the right place for a collective that released three albums in 2003.) Immediately called to mind here are the Holy Modal Rounders and, to a lesser extent, the Incredible String Band. While Animal Collective certainly don't share the intimate knowledge of folk music or the expert musicianship of the Holy Modals or the ISB, they do understand the importance of repetition in reaching altered states, and they indulge in many naturalistic post-production enhancements to get there. "Leaf House" and "Who Could Win a Rabbit" open the record with a cozy atmosphere created from soaring harmonies and Beach Boys-type bungalow percussion. From there, with only a few exceptions, Sung Tongs devolves into the loosest of jam sessions, a midsummer night's dream of pixilated picking in similar company with the lengthy mid-album interlude ("Green Typewriters") during the Olivia Tremor Control's Dusk at Cubist Castle. Although the duo didn't record nearly enough material to justify checking out quite so soon, Sung Tongs is a striking record, a breath of fresh air within experimentalist indie rock.
AllMusic Review by John Bush