Sung Tongs

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Sung Tongs
Sung Tongs (Front Cover).png
Studio album by
ReleasedMay 3, 2004
RecordedSeptember 7 - 28, 2003
GenreFreak folk[1]
ProducerAnimal Collective
Animal Collective chronology
Here Comes the Indian
Sung Tongs
Prospect Hummer

Sung Tongs is the fifth studio album by American experimental pop band Animal Collective, released on May 3, 2004 by FatCat Records. The album generated much praise from critics upon its release and was featured in best-of lists at the end of 2004 and the decade of the 2000s.

Only two of the band's four members play on it: Avey Tare (David Portner) and Panda Bear (Noah Lennox), a first since Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished (2000), which was originally credited to the duo and only later retroactively classified as part of the band's discography.


On the Collected Animals message board, Portner detailed the recording equipment used:

"Yeah, we recorded it on the same tascam 48 (half inch 8 track) that I recorded Spirit on and the drums guitars and early electronics for Danse Manatee. That is we recorded the acoustic guitars and the vocals on 8 tracks. Then we mixed it down on Rusty's laptop and recorded many vocal and percussion over dubs. He's been using that for years. We mixed it from that onto....something..(i cant remember) at Noah's mom's place in Baltimore. It was very cold so we had to wear jackets the whole time. We added in all those samples and electronics there. We mixed for awhile so its sweet you like the mixing. Oh and we used AKGs and an old ribbon mic to record with. Though we had a pzm and some sm57s that we might have used as well. I remember using the pzm to record me slamming the door of the house which is what that distorted rhythm track in kids on holiday is; the person talking at the beginning of Who Could Win A Rabbit is someone in a deli in my neighborhood."[2]

Moreover, they used exclusively red light during the recording process:

"Lots of singing and messing around with doing vocals in all parts of a room. It was basically like a two bedroom house but the living room was all cement...thats where we recorded and the bedroom was where we set up the mixer. Its on the property that my parents live on in Lamar, Colorado. We rented a bunch of mics here in nyc and took my eight track out there with us. Rusty [Santos] would just listen to every song as we would play it live and walk around the room for a while and then decide how he'd want to mike the guitars. Noah and I both did the percussion during over dubs throughout the session as well."[3]


The short track "College" with its line "You don't have to go to college" has often been mistaken as a political statement. "I just threw that line in there to make it funny and to be anti Beach Boys cause the song is so Beach Boys to begin with. You know it's like the anti...'Be True to Your School' mentality of the fifties," Dave Portner (aka Avey Tare) explained on the Collected Animals message board."[4] "The response to that song has been amazing. People at gigs scream for us to play it, and we get emails from kids asking for advice", Portner said in an Interview in 2005.[5]

The song "Visiting Friends" was influenced by Kompakt’s Pop Ambient compilations and Wolfgang Voigt’s project Gas, it was meant to be "like a wall of hums [...], but with acoustic guitars."[5]

Recalling the recordings of the album's single "Who Could Win a Rabbit", Portner wrote on the Collected Animals Board: "The first time we played back who could win a rabbit after we recorded the initial tracks we just cracked up and said 'holy shit, we made that????....'"[3]

Reception and legacy[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Review scores
AllMusic4/5 stars[7]
Alternative Press4/5[8]
The Boston Phoenix3/4 stars[9]
Mojo4/5 stars[10]
Rolling Stone3/5 stars[14]
Stylus MagazineA−[15]
Uncut5/5 stars[16]

Sung Tongs has received mostly positive reviews. On the review aggregate site Metacritic, the album has a score of 83 out of 100, indicating "Universal acclaim".[17]

The song "Winters Love" was featured in The Simpsons episode "A Totally Fun Thing That Bart Will Never Do Again".[18] "Winters Love" also appears a number of times on the soundtrack of the John Cameron Mitchell film Shortbus.

Sung Tongs has sold 27,000 copies in US according to Nielsen Soundscan. [19]

The album was performed live in its entirety by the band for Pitchfork's 21st birthday on December 2nd 2017.[20]

The album has appeared on the following best-of lists:

Track listing[edit]

All music composed by Animal Collective.

1."Leaf House"2:42
2."Who Could Win a Rabbit"2:18
3."The Softest Voice"6:46
4."Winters Love"4:55
5."Kids on Holiday"5:47
6."Sweet Road"1:15
7."Visiting Friends"12:36
9."We Tigers"2:43
10."Mouth Wooed Her"4:24
11."Good Lovin Outside"4:26
12."Whaddit I Done"4:05



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Collected Animals message board".
  3. ^ a b Collected Animals Post by Dave Portner under his user name "wheeter", April 13, 2006
  4. ^ "Questions for the Collective ~ college". Archived from the original on September 29, 2011. Retrieved 2015-10-18.
  5. ^ a b MOTHER NATURE’S SONS: Animal Collective and Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti by Simon Reynolds, The Wire, 2005
  6. ^ "Reviews for Sung Tongs by Animal Collective". Metacritic. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  7. ^ Bush, John. "Sung Tongs – Animal Collective". AllMusic. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  8. ^ "Animal Collective: Sung Tongs". Alternative Press (193): 122. August 2004.
  9. ^ Bell, Megan (February 4–10, 2005). "Animal Collective: Sung Tongs (Fat Cat)". The Boston Phoenix. Archived from the original on November 29, 2016. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  10. ^ "Animal Collective: Sung Tongs". Mojo (126): 105. May 2004.
  11. ^ Young, Dylan (May 20, 2004). "Animal Collective". Now. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  12. ^ Leone, Dominique (May 2, 2004). "Animal Collective: Sung Tongs". Pitchfork. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  13. ^ Henderson, Lee (May 5, 2004). "Animal Collective: Sung Tongs". PopMatters. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  14. ^ Sarig, Roni (August 19, 2004). "Sung Tongs". Rolling Stone. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  15. ^ Howard, Ed (June 1, 2004). "Animal Collective – Sung Tongs – Review". Stylus Magazine. Archived from the original on March 30, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  16. ^ "Animal Collective – Sung Tongs". Uncut (85): 85. June 2004. Archived from the original on September 10, 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2015.
  17. ^ Sung Tongs Reviews. Metacritic. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  18. ^
  19. ^
  20. ^
  21. ^ Pitchfork staff. The Top 100 Albums of 2000-04. Pitchfork. 7 February 2005. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  22. ^ Pitchfork staff. Top 50 Albums of 2004. Pitchfork. 31 December 2004. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  23. ^ Pitchfork staff. The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s: 50-21 Pitchfork. 1 October 2009. Retrieved 22 June 2011
  24. ^ Tiny Mix Tapes Staff. Favorite 100 Albums of 2000-2009: 20-01. Tiny Mix Tapes. February 2010. Retrieved 22 June 2011