Animal Collective’s 2022 release, ‘Time Skiffs’, felt like a bolt from the blue. A warm, inviting meditation on ageing that felt of a piece with the outfit’s ‘00s heyday. A record full of connection - despite members Panda Bear, Deakin, Avey Tare and Geologist recording it in separate locations around the world. The bones of that record, however, had been formed across the summer of 2019, and it’s from those same fertile jam sessions that twelfth album ‘Isn’t It Now?’ largely comes. Here, Animal Collective swap the Beach Boys references for Alice Coltrane’s sprawling spiritual jazz. There are still plenty of those gloriously contrasting harmonies, but here sounds are given a chance to breathe, to discover their own looping transcendence. It’s felt most keenly on ‘Defeat’, a musical quest through the group’s diverse musical appetites. But as their longest album to date, it’s hard to shift any accusations of self-indulgence: ‘Defeat’ alone clocks up a gargantuan 22 minutes runtime. Similarly, ‘Magicians From Baltimore’ could have been a wonderfully tight piece but overstays its welcome at almost 10 minutes. Still, the blissed-out, spage age ‘Genie’s Open’ and the funky prog of ‘Gem & I’ provide at least a partial argument in favour. And it’s hard to expect anything else from Animal Collective than wilful experimentation.