Wading through Animal Collective's slew of 2017 releases felt a lot like reading Kurt Vonnegut's Slaughterhouse Five; It was difficult to find what points in their career the band were pulling from, and each moment felt rooted in purpose but lost in time. Even when the mix cleared up, particularly on the Meeting of the Waters EP, you still had to reach out and find our story's central themes.

With Panda Bear out and Deakin in on the upcoming audiovisual album Tangerine Reef (due August 17th), the band's place in the timeline will once again shift. 'Hair Cutter' tells us much about what we need to know. The band are hearkening back to the unsettling pop dirges of 2000's Spirit They're Gone, Spirit They've Vanished. Odd, high-pitched tones dance around the mix like a ghost while warped vocals give them shape. Considering that the album will, in collaboration with Coral Morphologic, commemorate the 2018 International Year of the Reef, it's no surprise that there's a dark reality hidden in the details of 'Hair Cutter'.

Although it seems at first like Avey Tare is telling a personal tale, this music will extend itself to the natural world outside his own body. Deakin and Geologist handily contribute since they're firsthand observers of the degradation of our planet's coral reefs (The pair have gone on an annual scuba trip every year since 2005). That, and Avey's puzzling and meditative 'Coral Lords' from last year set the ideal stage for a full release. The song ends abruptly, and it's clear that the band are once again producing something through-composed and dense. There's reason to be psyched.