PANDA BEAR Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (Domino USA)
In 2007 Animal Collective songwriter Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear) released Person Pitch, his third solo LP. Its influence quickly became apparent as waves of bands attempted to replicate his Brian Wilsonesque melodies, wavy instrumentation, and low-key samples — partly for attention, partly because these sounds are easy to reproduce, and partly because Person Pitch is so brilliant and inspiring. The imitators presented a problem for Lennox: He now had to reclaim his turf or move on to something new. Whether or not the title of his newest album reflects a shedding of this musical persona, the music does indeed branch off into a bracing new direction — one that proves more fruitful than even Person Pitch. He adds elements of dub bass and industrial beats to his sound, filling out an ocean-deep bottom end that even makes songs such as “Mr. Noah,” “Boys Latin,” and “Come to Your Senses” danceable, which suggests that he learned a trick or two from his Daft Punk collaboration last year. The new variety of colors and textures goes beyond the percussive, with an accordion and harp fleshing out “Tropic of Cancer,” a Chopin-like piano accentuating “Lonely Wanderer,” and howling dogs harmonizing with metallic noise in “Mr. Noah.” And on top of all this, the songs are catchy and satisfying. Good luck to anybody trying to mimic this one.