Panda Bear “Tomboy” — Album Review

Animal Collective’s, Noah Lennox is still musically feeding the animal within us all under his Panda Bear moniker’s latest effort (and highly anticipated I might add) Tomboy. The 11-track release is filled with experimental rhythms and very tribal-like effects/sounds meshed with some highly interesting, choir-like vocals.

To create a successor to 2007’s highly-acclaimed Person Pitch was obviously no easy feat, given it took him practically five years to come out with a follow-up (but he also managed to release another album with Animal Collective, so we’re giving him some leeway there). Tomboy definitely lives up to all they hype and provides Lennox with even more musical accolades.

While Person Pitch featured more sample-based efforts, Tomboy is literally on the opposite end of the spectrum, with a bit more original flavor and much more imagination. Highly influenced by Nirvana and the White Stripes, Panda Bear decided to make this album doused in heavy-ass guitar and rhythmic symphonies that truly delight one’s musical palette.

“Surfer’s Hymn” starts off with oceanic waves and a cluster of twinkling synths that make you feel as if you have a huge seashell to your ear with the ocean’s jingle echoing out. It’s very colorful and pacifying to the ear with its electro tambourine jangles, tribal chants and sounds of gushing waves in the background. Quite eerie and very mechanical best describes “Drone,” with its organ chords and very drone-like, high-pitched vocals, as well as a long conclusion that keeps on going. It’s sort of like when you have a contest with a friend on who can say “Awwwwwwwwww” longer. That part was kind of annoying. Never try to compete with Panda Bear in one of those contests ’cause he’ll win, hands down!

“Friendship Bracelet” was a notable tune not only because of its title, but also because of its very unique vocals. So picture yourself saying something, then repeatedly (and open-handedly) covering your mouth to create a hollering, echoey effect. (You have to physically try it to fully grasp the musical effect here.) So you have that weird, but cool, element in addition to a variety of cosmic sound effects fused with bird-like calls to create a vibrant track. If you close your eyes, it sort of makes you see the colors of the rainbow coming at you in music notes…without any “enhancements.”

“Afterburner” has to be my favorite track on Tomboy because of its intense beginning with hard-hitting, tribal beats that are in your face before some groovy melodies kick in. It’s very retro ’70s-ish put in a new wave musical scheme. Overall, it provides a good vibe that stood out from other tracks on the album.

Panda Bear hasn’t disappointed and has more than exceeded expectations from his prior effort. Really, it’s going to be hard to outdo Tomboy, which should be interesting to see if Lennox can do. We’re just hoping it doesn’t take as long as this one did!

Words: Kristie Bertucci

Artist: Panda Bear
Album: Tomboy
Label: Paw Tracks
Release Date: April 12, 2011




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