Panda Bear – Tomboy Panda Bear – Tomboy

Panda Bear - Tomboy

I feel that I’ve listened to more Animal Collective side projects in the last year than the sum of Animal Collective albums during my entire life. Is this the year of animals? It also doesn’t help the band’s reputation makes up a sizable portion of the runs indie rock / NPR network that every release is given extensive analysis. Sweet god, when will this band stop making forward thinking albums which fail to fit in a genre. 2011 has already seen the release of a fashion related cassette mix but this Spring welcomes the release of Panda Bear’s follow-up to 2007’s Personal Pitch. Tomboy has been hyped with various singles being released from different labels and acts a as yet another Animal Collective tally on the post-Meriwether scoreboard. It maybe too late for any of us to turn back.

In early interviews, Noah Lennox indicated Tomboy would be much different than Personal Pitch by abandoning the heavy use of samplers for a more organic embrace of rhythm. Lennox went onto cite influences such as Nirvana and The White Stripes. Alright, once you stop laughing Ill tell you more. Animal Collective’s label Paw Tracks had Lennox quoted as saying “With regards to where I am with Tomboy, I’m definitely reliving middle school and all the Baltimore R&B radio we used to ingest.” alright, Im fucking down. Nirvana, White Stripes and Baltimore R&B radio? Hopefully it doesn’t sound like another musical version of pillows in entering the tumble dry.

…Goddamn it Panda Bear.

To be fair, Personal Pitch cited influences ranging from Black Flag, the Grateful Dead and Michael Jackson. Citied influences may be apparent or ground to gravel as it lays indistinguishable from the next. If there are any influences in Tomboy any form or identification has long been lost. That being said, this album flows by with little cause for alarm. But just with many Animal Collective releases, a listener is either completely on board or left by the side of the street will the big bus screeches away. I’m sure this album is good, I just cant get into it — no matter what shirt I wear.

Tomboy presents a world full of lush instrumentation and vocals still swimming in the deep end of reverb. A noticeable different from 2007’s Personal Pitch is the deep and often slick production from Spaceman 3’s Sonic Boom. What made Personal Pitch so revolutionary feels like a formality as all the sharp edges are sanded down to smooth curves. This is strange as Tomboy is, perhaps, better written and presented but lacks any off the wall weirdness which made Personal Pitch so endearing.

Despite my intellectual reasoning with Tomboy, I cannot shake the feeling of being overwhelmingly underwhelmed. The album lacks any great leap forwards in terms of style and merely examines further the space reached with Personal Pitch. Perhaps I am wrong though. Ive been wrong before. Maybe I’m just tired and mis-calibrated. Perhaps I need to start an Animal Collective fast before the next release. Things are starting to sound the same and everything is one big beautiful blur.

1. You Can Count on Me
2. Tomboy
3. Slow Motion
4. Surfers Hymn
5. Last Night at The Jetty
6. Drone
7. Alsatian Darn
8. Scheherezade
9. Friendship Bracelet
10. Afterburner
11. Benfica

Panda Bear - Tomboy, reviewed by Kaptain Carbon on 2011-04-15T11:21:25-07:00 rating 3.0 out of 5

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