Better known as one-fourth of indie darlings Animal Collective, Noah Lennox under the name Panda Bear has recently released his third record upon the world, aptly titled Person Pitch. Gone are the mostly acoustic-based songs found on his last album, Young Prayer. Person Pitch has taken elements of Brian Wilson's years of experimenting in the field of pop to an almost heavenly plane. You'll also find lyrics on this album which were completely missing from Young Prayer's vocal style of using the voice as an instrument rather than means to get a message across. The album is made up of various singles and EP's that Panda Bear has released over the last two years, but everything comes together quite well as a full-length album.
Person Pitch begins rather strong with "Comfy in Nautica," a song that depends completely upon vocals for the melody for the duration of the entire song. Vocals are looped and stacked upon each other and tell a message of an optimistic outlook on life. While it's a strong start to the album it doesn't hold a candle to the following track, which is by far my absolute favorite on the album, "Take Pills," a song that starts off slowly before the main melody of the song fades in to reveal a song of absolute pop bliss. You can really feel the influence of Lennox's move to Portugal in the track as the main melody invokes images of the streets abuzz in the summer while people flood marketplaces and children play all around.
"Bros" continues the festive sound of "Take Pills" and expands upon it into a track that clocks in at over twelve minutes. While the song is a very good song I felt it could have been a tad bit truncated, especially for a track that is smack dab in the middle of the album. Regardless though, it shows Lennox's ability to create music that can be pure pop perfection without depending on the freak-outs that always seem to interrupt the good pop moments of Animal Collective songs. "I'm Not" follows "Bros" and is a very mellow song that helps calm the listener down while not sacrificing any of the melody and harmonies found on the album thus far.
I feel the album starts to go a tad bit afoul with "Good Girl / Carrots." Another song that clocks in at over twelve minutes, it manages to have close to four different personalities despite only being double titled. There are great parts within the track but there is also a bit of filler as well. There is even a vocal melody in the track that sounds like a recycled Animal Collective melody circa Sung Tongs. Despite all of this, it makes for a decent track.
The flow of the album is cut up a tad much with "Search for Delicious" which sounds like it belongs more on the Greg Davis / Sebastien Roux collaboration album Paquet Surprise. It is a good track but it tends to bring the end of the album down a bit, especially considering it's followed by the very succinct "Ponytail." I feel an album of such would have proportions fared better with a track more along the lines of "Take Pills."
All in all, Panda Bear has put together an album that I find altogether enjoyable. I am not sure it's the end all be all that most press and folks are making it out to be but it's certainly a very good album which I am sure will be the soundtrack to many people's summer this year. If you like Animal Collective at all, I'd suggest checking this out. You might end up liking it more than any Animal Collective output so far, which has certainly been the case with me.
8.1 / 10
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