Most artists, no matter their genre or style of play, have a certain formula that they follow when it comes to writing, recording and performing. Streaking in Tongues is not most artists. For a few years now, they’ve been steadily releasing one thought-provoking recording after another, and no two have been quite the same in both their presentation and their design. The secret to their versatility? Streaking in Tongues doesn’t just refuse to follow a formulaic path when it comes to being creative; they straight up reject the notion of repeating the same narrative, even once, in this lifetime. Everything is original and constantly refined to stay refresh, and in their new album Kindergarten Prayers, we get a glimpse into some of their most enigmatically fascinating work yet.
If you were to just jump into Kindergarten Prayers randomly, say the seventh track “Field of Pineapples,” you would be processing and absorbing Streaking in Tongue’s music from a completely different perspective than if you had started off at the beginning of the record, or even a track of two earlier. “Field of Pineapples” starts off as an exhibition in noise rock through the lens of trip-hop before descending into a low fidelity ambient folk ballad in its second act and erupting into an all-out jangle rock anthem. It’s followed by the startlingly psychedelic “Boy in a Garbage Bag,” which takes Howard James Kenny-style looping and meshes it with a self-conscious piano dirge. If we wander the record on shuffle a little further, we encounter even more diversity.
There isn’t another record out this year that is as stylishly experimental as Kindergarten Prayers is, and even if the idea of an album as eclectically compiled as this one is a little intimidating, trust me when I say that this is an exceptionally accessible slice of avant-garde gold. The trio of title tracks, as jarringly raw as they are, will be stuck in your head for the duration of the foreseeable future if you listen to them back to back, while the ghostly “Young Again,” coming in at a modest minute and twenty six seconds, is so powerful that I would challenge anyone to listen to its swirling harmony and not be emotionally moved by its simplicity.
This is the best album I’ve reviewed this year, and the competition doesn’t even start to come close with this one. Kindergarten Prayers is a record that requires a lot of attention, but if you’re inclined to sit down and really give music the focus that it deserves, you’re in store for a magical journey led by a father and his young son that will introduce you to the darkest and most opulent of melodies you’re going to hear in the 2010s presented in stunning technicolor. This is excellent listening for a rainy afternoon curled up beside a picture window; it’s ambient and relaxing but colorfully visual and imagistic. Do yourself a favor and see for yourself what I’m talking about the next time you’re in the market for new music.