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Panda Bear - Slow Motion
Apr 22, 2011
Total plays:
23 times
Why do we like this?
Over the past year or so, Panda Bear's ubiquity throughout the blogosphere has been matched by few. Though the Animal Collective member, whose real name is Noah Lennox, has been around for over a decade now, his popularity has increased dramatically over the last few years due to his game-changing third solo album, 2007's  Person Pitch, and his band's 2009 masterpiece Merriweather Post Pavilion. This explains why any information involving Lennox's fourth solo album, Tomboy, was greeted with a great deal of excitement. Now that the album has finally been released, I'm happy to report that all expectations surrounding it were met and maybe even exceeded.

If you are at all well-versed in Panda Bear's discography, you are aware of the fact that he doesn't like to stay in one place for long. This is why Tomboy sounds different from almost everything Lennox released before this album. In recent years, his music has been classified as everything from freak folk to psych pop, but the electronic-based Tomboy is closest to the latter. However, it isn't sample-based like Person Pitch, nor is it loaded with dense layers of sounds like Merriweather Post Pavilion. Instead, it joins hallmarks of Lennox's sound (psychedelic effects, serene vocal harmonies) with relatively straightforward song structures and lengths, creating something that can sound idyllic ("Alsatian Darn"), secluded ("Sheherazade"), or woozy ("Benfica").

The first seven tracks on this album had already been released on 7" singles prior to Tomboy's release, but even if you heard all of those songs and weren't impressed, the remaining four are substantially different and definitely worth a listen. While the first half of the album (excepting "Drone") emphasizes repetition, rhythm, and tunefulness, the second half is more sparse and drawn out, with less percussion, calling to mind the more sprawling moments of Merriweather Post Pavilion and the more conventional moments of AnCo's 2010 visual album/soundtrack ODDSAC.

Throughout Tomboy's entirety, however, almost every sound is soaked in some sort of effect (usually reverb or delay) and most of the vocals are obscured to the point that the lyrics can barely be made out upon first listen. None of this is unexpected or unwelcome, though, as mystery is something Lennox's music has always thrived on.

Since I began really keeping tabs on Panda Bear a couple of years ago, I've hypothesized that he is going to be regarded as one of the most influential musicians of our time when it"˜s all said and done, and I'm extremely pleased to say that Tomboy only adds to my theory. Nowadays, it's rare to find an artist who can make the avant-garde sound accessible and the accessible sound fresh, but here Lennox proves once again that he's capable of doing that and much, much more.t
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