Archive for the Panda Bear Category

Animal Collective – Strawberry Jam (Domino) 2007

Posted in Animal Collective, Music, Panda Bear on October 14, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Well this is pretty good. For a band now on to there sixth album it’s a pretty impressive statement. Animal Collective are a four piece from Brooklyn and features Panda Bear along with Avey Tare. After the sheer brilliance of Panda Bear’s solo record Person Pitch I was really looking forward to this release and I wasn’t fucking disappointed. This is the most accessible thing they’ve done and it lacks the intentional obtuseness of some of their previous records. Anyone who knows their Animal Collective knows that like an annoying five year old they sometimes take it too far. There are moments of Sung Tongs where I just want to punch my ipod. Yeah I get the whole “so you thinking you’re getting a clever pop song do you. Try this high pitched squeal or one minute or barked yelping.” You know sometimes it just shits me. I’m enjoying the song and then they have to do something to fuck it with its pants on and I go, “GRRR!! Why did they have to do that for?”

Fuck it I’ll be honest sometimes what they do isn’t clever, it’s just arrogant. So why do I keep buying their records? Because most of the time the music is just so fucking great.

And after that rant on to Strawberry Jam. The sound is distinctly Animal Collective. No other band does this sort of stuff so well. So what do you get for your buck? How about the strong song writing of Feels passed through the blissed out psychedelic bowels of Person Pitch. I said in the post for Person Pitch that it was the album I always wanted Animal Collective to make. Well now they’ve finally released a record I can love all the way through. When I wrote accessible earlier on I really mean accessible for Animal Collective rather than the normal generic sense of accessible ……. if you know what I mean. There are heaps of their patented strange sounds, quirky noise and the odd yelp but the songs all hold together really well. There are even some strangely fucked up Beatlesque moments on this. It’s clever without being arrogant, it’s melodic without being saccharine and it’s the best thing they’ve done.

Panda Bear – Person Pitch (Paw Tracks)

Posted in Animal Collective, Music, Panda Bear on July 6, 2007 by noisenoisenoise


Well lets get the lazy comparisons out of the way. Panda Bear is a member of Animal Collective. They share the same free-folk ethos. But I will commit heresy and say right now…. this is way fucking better than anything Animal Collective have done. This is how I wanted Animal Collective to sound when I first bought Here Comes The Indian CD.  It’s how I wanted the Polyphionic Spree to sound before I wasted money on that piece of garbage (note to self: David Bowie is not necessarily a reliable arbiter of good things. Additional note to self: You really should have already known this considering the man hasn’t made a decent record since 1981). 

Person Pitch is a clever, mesmersing record. You know those bits in the Wicker Man (no, not the fucking remake) when everyone is prancing about being mellow, and in love and happy and stuff? This record shares that happy joy with a moody, meditative quality. Scratch the surface though and Mr Bear just can’t help fucking with his listener’s heads just a little. The first track Comfy in Nautica is a gentle ode to the good time sung over a loop of what sounds like a church choir chanting and clapping.  It makes one want to frolic in a park on a warm summer’s day but then two thirds of the way through a Formula One race makes an appearance. Right through the fucking park I’d say. The choir don’t seem to mind though. They keep chanting away in their quasi-eurphoric state. The clapping stays steady as she goes until  the last 30 seconds when proceedings are taken over by an ominous drone. Its almost like the earlier bliss has been enveloped by pure evil. Unsettling certainly. But what does it all mean?

The third track Bros has similar evil intent lying underneath the surface. Bros begins as a lo-fi blissed out Beach Boys-style track but after two and half minutes the sounds of tortured screams and moans can be heard under the merry-as-can-be melody.  Then nothing, the track continues business as usual with tamborines tapping and guitars strumming. The message? Be as happy as you like people, evil lurks everywhere. Especially like in the Wicker Man where the hippies cheer and hold hands while Edward Woodward burns alive. Fuck I hate hippies.

Track 5 Good Girl/Carrots is another case in point.  The first second sounds like a bomb exploding and glass shattering. Frenetic tabla begins and in the mix sirens are heard only to fininsh so quickly that I wondered whether I’d heard them at all. The bomb sound turns up a couple more times just to fuck with the groove. The vocals start looping, like backmasked gibberish yet still we are firmly in a hippy land where the sun always shines.

Person Pitch is a challenging and fascinating journey. Rewards with repeated listens blah blah fucking blah … man.

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