Panda Bear: Tomboy

Of late no other alternative group has been as prolific and well received as Animal Collective. Both together and apart, the group has produced trendsetting records that have filled many a dance floor. Even their film projects have made it on to music festival screens.

The eclecticism of their individual and group projects is what makes the arrival of a member’s new record so exciting. As expected Tomboy differs in its style, sounds and ideas in comparison to Panda Bear’s earlier album. There are no twelve minute epics that stole the show on his previous project, Person Pitch; instead, the focus is spread between roughly equal-length songs. The result is a more contained, but louder and punchier record that is closer to Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion than any of Noah Lennox’s solo work.

“You Can Count on Me” is a vocally soaring opener which sets up the album well. Lennox has previously talked of a triangle of voice, guitar and basic beats which he focused on to shape Tomboy, and that formula pervades each song. There is little or no use of samples which makes the tracks less cluttered, less hazy and filled with more emotional force. This works best on the beautifully melodic “Last Night At The Jetty”.

The only critique of this album lies in its seemingly singular direction; each track goes at a similar pace to the other, with long extended chords drawn out in each. Bar the first number and the last, the order of the songs doesn’t really matter. In a sense, they needn’t weave together because each song is strong enough to stand on its own. As a collection of tracks, Noah Lennox’s latest venture wows us again.

Hana Teraie-Wood