Panda Bear, the solo endeavor of Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox, recently released Buoys, a nine-track album featuring a more modern sound and a whole lot more vulnerability. He considers the east coast to be home, having grown up between Maryland and Pennsylvania, and later moving to New York City, where Animal Collective was born. Lennox brings much of the band’s signature indie sounds and his own unorthodox twists to create the versatile Panda Bear.
Much of the inspiration for Buoys came from the current hip-hop scene, drawing from Swae Lee and a few Atlanta producers. With a new approach, the differences between Buoys and his past three albums, Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, Tomboy, and Person Pitch, are evident: while the latter contained a sort of chronological storyline, Buoys deviates from the story and went straight for vulnerability. It showcases Lennox’s vocals as never heard before- they are far rawer and more open, yet his voice was auto-tuned throughout.
An album full of surprises, Buoys’ second track, “Cranked,” offers a contrast between smooth vocals and video game-like sounds, a combination that Lennox manages to make work. A continuation of the same general sound scheme, “Token” welcomingly adds a few chords, but mellows out a bit more. To showcase the esteemed theme of vulnerability, “Inner Monologue” was very modestly auto-tuned, enabling listeners to hear the depth Panda Bear has to offer. Buoys brilliantly breaks Panda Bear’s historic line of story-telling albums and is worth the listen given its boldness and feeling.
Recommended If You Like: Dirty Projectors, Deakin, Black Moth Super Rainbow
Recommended Tracks: 2 (“Cranked”), 3 (“Token”), 7 (“Inner Monologue”)
Do Not Play: None
Written by Amy Shea on 04/25/2019