Archive for the ‘Panda Bear’ Category

Panda Bear – Tomboy (Review)

April 12th, 2011 No comments

Panda Bear – Tomboy (4.5 Stars out of 5)

I stare outside at the grayness and the shadows indoors being swept up in the reverberation of Lennox. As if it were my own person religious service, wandering through a finished Sagrada Familia or maybe it’s The Cathedral of the Holy Cross and Saint Eulalia, there is a redefined approach to making classic music.

Maybe I will play the part of Lester Bangs and orgasm at the text written on the screen when talking about Panda Bear’s latest effort, ‘Tomboy’. Yes, I write this as a fan boy and yet us fanboys still need attention.

‘Tomboy’ is a euphoric experience that is, inspired more by Nirvana and the White Stripes rather than the loops of ‘Person Pitch’.  But what it tries to accomplish is wrap the sounds and tones from all musical spheres into one bundle. This album is as much a modern Gregorian Chant as it is Brian Wilson Pet Soundsgasm.

In reading some of the initial thoughts of the album, I came across several who felt the album was almost religious. It’s an album that might only be able to be reproduced in a live environment in a Gothic Cathedral, which is a predominant reason for his issues at Pitchfork and other festivals.

It’s also an album that needs the full attention of your navel. By the time that you finish gazing nonchalantly hearing the expansive effort that Noah Lennox has created you should want to hit the repeat button.

I would add that if you are listening to this album for the first time and are involved in cleaning your abode or are involved in any task outside of putting on headphones and staring out into the abyss then don’t listen to it. It would just be a complete and total waste of your time.   Check out a sunset by yourself, watch the ceiling fan move in it’s circular motions, stare at a caterpillar form a cocoon.

We can revel all we want in the sounds that Jimi Hendrix could make on the guitar.  A drummer like Keith Moon can be lauded for his speed and ferocity but at the end of the day these sounds are not as unique as the human voice.  Whether you are Bono, Leonard Cohen or Bob Dylan, the sounds are unique and adds something authentic to the recordings. And as I listen to Panda Bear’s latest effort “Tomboy”, I cannot help but get around the vocals. I do not find a certain amiable quality in his solo voice but the effects, reverberations and multiple tracks that make the music much warmer than

I think reviewers, even myself, using the Beach Boys as an influence on these recordings fails to realize a closer correlation to the crooners of the 60’s, as Lennox suggests in interviews.  But before you think you will hear ‘Luck by a Lady Tonight’, Lennox takes these influences and makes it his own.

Unlike bands like Destroyer, Dan Behar’s project that chooses to reproduce the sounds of the 80’s on his latest effort, Lennox doesn’t try to reproduce the sounds of the 60’s but rather make them influential in his effort.

Consider the opening track to “Tomboy”, ‘You Can Count On Me’. There is nothing very complex about this song in the lyrics, but backing this with an “Underwater Wall of Sound”, as the groups and layers of sounds emanate from within. The lyrics at the beginning of the song almost sound contradictory (“No you can’t count on me”) to what he is actually singing (“Know you can count on me”).

The title tracks efforts are aided by Spaceman 3 guru Sonic Boom (aka Peter Kember). My initial read of the track sounded out like a fucked up Syd Barrett solo album.  The starkness of the initial single released last year has been given plenty of bells and whistles to add some meat to it.

In NPR’s ‘All Songs Considered’ the discussion about the ‘Religious’ sound was discussed, as if Lennox had designed the album to be performed in a Church.  On some level his music is often reminiscent of listening to Gregorian Chant on songs like ‘Drone’.

The “Dance Track” off the album would have to be “Alsatian Darn”, which opens in the second half of the song into a free for all dance moment. Even Pandas need to dance along the stage.

The eventual comparisons will be made about this record compared to ‘Person Pitch’. ‘Person Pitch’ was an album that comes around once every 10 years.  ‘Tomboy’ might not match Person Pitch but succeeds in not trying to reproduce part 2. This is a more subtle and thoughtful piece that weaves it’s own vivid dream.

Imagine how music was thought years ago. These churches creating an immense soundscape as the sounds are reverberating throughout the stone structures going up to the heavens.  Music was a spiritual experience, something, with our MP3 players and ability to consume music at an overwhelming pace never get a moment to sit down and allow the music flow over your body.

Categories: Music, Panda Bear Tags: