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4 out of 5 stars
Tomboy
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
With just one review so far, I think we should get the ball rolling on Tomboy...

This is a very sucessful album. As many reviews have mentioned, Tomboy is not necessarily a 'follow-up' album to Person Pitch. The sound is simpler in a way that is hard to describe. The melody, idea, hook, or whatever, behind each song is simpler but the mood of each song and the spacey atmospheric production makes simple sound BIG. Listen at high volume.

The sound: not exactly organic as some reviews would have one think. Imagine heavily processed guitar over a simple beat, with layer after layer of reverberating vocals. The obvious reference might be the infamous 'wall of sound' but I really don't have another record that sounds like this one.

Tomboy has an interesting history because of the rather odd way in which it was slowly secreted by its creator. Panda has toured these songs and released many in a rawer form as 7" singles. This has given the listener the odd choice of having a choice. The work of Sonic Boom on the LP version of these songs is certainly noticable. If one word has been used as jornalistic shorthand to describe the music of Panda Bear and his legions, it is "nostalgic". Sonic Boom knows this adjective; in fact, MGMT's Boom produced album Congratulations has beocme one of this reviewers go-to records due to this nostaligic touch that is heard in songs such as "I Found A Whistle" and "Siberian Breaks". He was an excellent choice to mix these songs for the LP. The synth line on Tomboy is one example of a welcome addition that his mixes have provided, as are the percussive additions to "Last Night at the Jetty" and "Slow Motion".

Surprises include the pulsing "Afterburner", the sole track that Panda is willing to stretch to any great length. Also a welcome surprise is the download of the 9/11/10 show that Panda played at Governor's Island, NY - this bootleg was a wonderful audience recording made even more pristine with the mastering touch of Sonic Boom...BONUS!!

Drones, repetition, and ecccchoohooohooohooo. These are good things.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on November 29, 2013
Format: VinylVerified Purchase
It took me a while to warm up to this album, and now, I have no idea why. This album is amazing, nothing short of a brilliant follow-up to Person Pitch. With the limited ed. 4 LP set, there's even a bonus track included (The Preakness) not found on other pressings.

As mentioned in another review, the arrangement of tracks is somewhat different due to the bonus track, but for such a good cut, missing out on the infinite runout is a small price to pay for The Preakness.

Presentation here is great! Sturdy box with individual LP sleeves for each record and an art book.

The 3rd and 4th records are bonus discs that include single mixes, instrumentals, and acapellas. The acapellas are a bit misleading, in the sense that they don't have additional vocal tracks recorded to replace the instruments, they're more "vocal tracks only" versions. Still very interesting to hear given the talent of Mr. Noah Lennox.
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9 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2011
Format: MP3 Music
Having considered myself a devotee of all things related to Animal Collective, I was thrilled to hear some advance tracks from Panda Bear's third solo album, "Person Pitch." The 12 minute "Bros" was (and is) simply stunning to me. Panda Bear's voice had long been the honeyed chaser to Avey Tare's more manic delivery in Animal Collective, but here that beautiful yearning coo was the main focus of the music, mixed with washes of hazy synths and drifting in a hypnotically repetitive epic that owed as much to minimalist techno as to Brian Wilson and hippie jam bands. Perhaps most impressively, the sound of "Bros" was a significant departure in sound from anything anyone from the Collective had done previously, including Panda's own solo work. Surely, this was a sign that the AC spirit was going strong, and promised many more releases showcasing their restless experimentalism and constant evolution of sound.

Alas, I was a bit disappointed with the proper release of Person Pitch. I belong to a minority of people who feel that PP would have been much more effective and impressive as an EP rather than as a full album. For me, "Take Pills," "Bros," "I'm Not," and "Good Girl/Carrots" sound fantastic on their own, and are brought down by the surrounding tracks. I realize that this is heresy to some, but I found myself overdosing on the syrupy sweetness of the album as a whole. I enjoyed certain tracks, but waited anxiously for the next AC-related release to offer some nice contrast to Panda's Wall of Pet Sounds experiment.

For the most part, AC's Strawberry Jam (released shortly after Person Pitch) did offer a new direction in sound (some a bit questionable to me, see review for details), although Panda's contributions were again sunny, Wilson-inspired numbers, somewhat reminiscent of PP. Then, 2009's Merriweather Post Pavilion demonstrated an embrace by the entire band of Panda's feel-good sugar time approach to music. Of course, I thought it sounded pleasant enough, but it became clear that my fearless heroes of experimental tribal music were starting to show signs of creative satiety. As critical praise for the band continued to increase, my hope in the old AC philosophy began to diminish. And, looking back, it all had started with Panda's Person Pitch.

So now we have Panda's fourth solo outing, "Tomboy." Panda has stated that he didn't want this to be a retread of Person Pitch, and there are indeed some differences, like using treated guitars and drums rather than samples for his arrangements. But let's not kid ourselves: these are very minor variations on the now-canonical PP sound: ethereal, meditative repetition with Panda's voice treated to sound like a drugged up Heavenly Host at the beach. Strong moments are to be found, for sure, such as the melancholy "Slow Motion" and the spacious "Scheherazade." Like Person Pitch, though, this release would have been better presented as an EP of its most essential cuts. Listening to the whole album, its true moments of fragile beauty are bogged down not only by the less inspired tracks, but by the overload of droning ethereal sweetness that has come to be Panda's trademark.

Compare this with his second album, "Young Prayer," and notice how affecting and beautiful the stark arrangements and production can be. Also notice how different in sound that one is from "Person Pitch."

I realize that some people can't get enough of this canonical PP sound, but I just wish he'd try something else.

If you're like me, you'll take the best songs from this one and enjoy a Tomboy EP, while waiting for another artist to fill the creative void that AC has decided to leave (currently, I'm hoping that Gang Gang Dance's new album will deliver).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Tomboy definitely isn't Person Pitch, and though I do prefer Person Pitch overall, Tomboy demands just as much respect. Tomboy is signature Panda Bear style in the way of the droning vocals, but here the "droning" aspect expands into the music as well. It is a definitely a peaceful album, almost to the point where it creates a floating feeling. All the tracks are worth listening to, but the standouts are "Last Night at the Jetty", "Slow Motion", "Scheherazade", and "Afterburner". Definitely check this one out. Now when's the next Animal Collective album coming out...
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 8, 2012
Format: Vinyl
Panda Bear's Tomboy was one of my favorite records of 2011, so I sold my single LP copy so I could buy this. The single copy is worth around $20, The 4LP box set is worth around $30. I think the $10 price bump is worth it.

The box set records are black, not white, which was a little disappointing, but not a big deal. This set doesn't come with a download card like the single LP version does. The single LP is split into two LPs with a bonus track on side three. You'll need to switch the record twice as often for the same album. There isn't an infinite runoff grove of drone on the last track like there is on the single LP set.

The bonus track is very cool. The real treats here are the third LP of the single mixes. It's basically the entire album, remixed, in a different track order. I loved the original mixes produced by sonic boom, and hearing essentially the same album before and after his modifications is awesome. The box set also comes with instrumentals and a capellas on select tracks. There's also a lyrics book, which is good because you can't tell anything the singer is saying just by listening.

If you don't mind having black vinyl instead of white vinyl and don't mind switching the side twice as often, and having the infinite drone on Benfica isn't a deal breaker, for $10 more you get a bonus track, a ton more artwork, a lyrics book, and the entire album remixed. I thought it was worth it. All profits, according to the sticker on the front, go to the american cancer society.
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8 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2011
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This is one of those albums whereby the more you listen to it, the more you like it, until it seems like the only album you're in the mood to listen to. It permeates your day, and keeps bringing you back. This is to me the mark of a great album.
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on July 18, 2014
Format: VinylVerified Purchase
Panda Bear,

Although Noahs project with Tomboy wasn't all what I expected, it was still good. To be honest I was expecting something more along the lines of Animal Collective, but every time I take the time to listen to this album I'm never disappointed. I always find myself humming along with the songs, because I never really know what he's saying. But the upbeat patterns and sometimes unusual repetitive samples come together very well. Tomboy has become one of my favorite albums and I hope that I can hear more coming from Noah in the future.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
There are some good songs on here, but it was simply mastered too loudly. It is painful for me to listen to at anything but very low volume. This is very discouraging to me because I like the way Panda Bear structures the sound. He just has to allow himself to use the full dynamic range available. Argh!
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on May 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD
Simple but enveloping and incredible sound, consistently high quality songs through the whole album, and Panda Bear's changed what he sings about since the last time he was releasing solo...

One of the most resonant things I've ever heard. It will stay with you. Gotta get it.
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on February 14, 2014
Format: Audio CD
Where Person Pitch is a purely digital deconstruction of the analog sounds that shaped modern American pop music (especially Brian Wilson/Beach Boys), Tomboy finds Panda Bear using the sampler to add percussion and sound effects that contribute to an original guitar-based sound.

If you've ever heard Sung Tongs or Feels by Animal Collective (Panda's band), these guys are pretty good at colorizing the most common of chord progressions. The singing on this record and Person Pitch is cryptic and ambiguous; Panda Bear wants you to hear the vocals as another instrument. You don't need to know the lyrics to feel the record. The reverb on the guitar and the vocals creates an interplay that, at times, gives off the impression that a full band is making the sounds on this record. Yet one man with a guitar in front of a small soundboard is making them.

The songs without a guitar track (Surfer's Hymn, Drone, Scheherazade, Benefica) act as softer ambient movements, though Surfer's Hymn has more of that punch that the guitar songs have than the others.

This album could have been a classic in the vein of Person Pitch. If you enjoy this record, you should look up some early performances of the songs on Youtube, from 2010. Animal Collective always developed their songs on tour extensively before they recorded them, but they always sounded better and sharpened in the end. The mix on this LP throws too much noise on what are already awesome minimal sonics. The sparseness of the live performances could have worked well on record. Just a personal preference. Overall, this is a great and creative record that I will continue listening to for years to come. Person Pitch, of course, is his best, a seminal work in electronic music.
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