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Animal Collective member Panda Bear (a.k.a. Noah Lennox) boldly returns with his long-awaited third solo record Person Pitch. Years in the making, Person Pitch marks a dramatic departure from Panda Bear's previous solo record Young Prayer. The acoustic instruments of Young Prayer have been replaced with samplers and electronics.
Fusing Panda's dramatic life changes over the past few years (marriage, moving to Lisbon, becoming a father) with his ever-increasing sonic palette (standouts include Caetano Veloso, Berlin Techno, Scott Walker, and Kylie Minogue), Person Pitch is suffused with the kind of feel good modern toe-tapping pop that seems harder and harder to find these days.
Paw Tracks feels that the passing of time will show Panda Bear's Person Pitch sitting alongside the great solo albums of Paul McCartney, George Michael, and Ghostface Killah. Luckily we don't have to wait.
As a member of the acclaimed Animal Collective, Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear) has for years been making music that mixes experimental structures with a pure '60s pop sensibility. On his second solo album of looped and layered experimental post-pop, he shows considerable skill in crafting songs that retain the essence of psychedelia while having been crafted with loop-based home recording methods. The album's finest moment has to be "Bros," a slowly percolating and unapologetically lovely twelve-and-a-half-minute song. Like Brian Wilson lost in a K-hole, gorgeous harmonies soaked in echo bump up against each other until they reach a rhythmic, fascinating crescendo. Elsewhere, Panda Bear's music tends toward the same effect a tad too much, often without the same transcendent quality. Person Pitch has fabulous moments aplenty, though (as with Captain Beefheart's 1968 Strictly Personal) one does wish that fewer reverb-soaked vocals were used, or that they were used even further, pushed into complete abstract dissociation. --Mike McGonigal
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Top customer reviews
I wasn't sure what to expect with this album because I purchased Tomboy first, but was pleasantly surprised with Person Pitch. I also recommend Animal Collective's later music and Avey Tare's solo album called Down There. But this is a good, hyper-reverbed album that is characteristic of Panda Bear.
Person Pitch begins with "Comfy in Nautica", which both defines the album's sound and provides an accessible jumping-off point, like any good opener should. To get an idea of what the sound is like this time around, picture Brian Wilson singing in the middle of a car factory somewhere in the middle of Africa, with drums and noises from outside sometimes working their way into the mix, and the occasional guest appearance by some thick, dubby basslines.
"Comfy in Nautica" itself is pretty simple; some clattering industrial percussion, a towering looped vocal sample and Lennox's heavily reverbed vocals. These same elements show up repeatedly elsewhere on the album, but thankfully there's much more to it than just that. Take, for instance, the ferocious tabla opener to "Good Girl/Carrots", the second of two twelve-minute epics on the album, and one of my favorite tracks. This is followed by a loping, easy section. The lyrics here seem to reference Mitch Hedburg, before breaking off into a gentle debate with a music snob who's attempting to put Lennox down. Then the track drifts underwater, accompanied by chimes and heavy bass as Panda exhorts us to "Take a risk just for yourselves/and wade into the deepest of the oceans". The track ends on an exultant note, the shimmering chimes drawing it to its close.
In fact, I'm pretty sure Person Pitch is worth buying for "Carrots" alone. But other tracks like the whirling, giddy guitar jam of "Bros" and the smooth echoes of "I'm Not" are equally elating. It's easily the happiest album released this year, and probably the most conventionally listenable thing any member of Animal Collective has ever created.
Most recent customer reviews
Panda Bear crafted a masterpiece with Person Pitch in 2007.Read more