Does Panda Bear’s ‘Tomboy’ live up to its expectations?
Wed, Apr 13, 2011 (6:45 p.m.)
- By Panda Bear
Where Avey Tare’s 2010 solo record arrived with relatively little fanfare, the latest from Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox has been hailed as the second coming of, well, Animal Collective. Actually, as the follow-up to 2007’s beloved Person Pitch—a high-ranking regular on best-of-decade lists—Tomboy might be even more anticipated than the full group’s next full-length. On that basis, it’s a letdown. Lennox’s sunny harmonies, super-abundant reverb and dense layering sound surprisingly unspurprising, and too few of the 11 songs match wits with the best off Person Pitch and Merriweather Post Pavilion. Still, there’s worthwhile stuff here: the lush, chanted vocals on opener “You Can Count on Me;” the way “Alsatian Darn” bursts open around its halfway point; the vibrating nod to the guy who mixed the record, ex-Spacemen 3 man Sonic Boom, throughout “Drone.” It’s enough for a solid spin and might stand as a career achievement for lots of other artists. But then, Panda Bear is hardly just an average bear.