Panda Bear

Crosswords EP

Domino

Aug 21, 2015 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


As if he hadn't blessed us enough already with January's beautiful Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper LP, Noah Lennox is back again already with a sweet little surprise Panda Bear EP of additional material. First up is an alternative mix of one of that album's lightest and loveliest tracks, "Crosswords." Now deeper and dubbier than before, this version is even greater than the original. Listening to it is like bobbing up and down in a warm ocean while brightly-beaked puffins fly past carrying Groan Tube toys to build their noisy nest.

Of the other four previously unreleased tracks, "No Mans Land" utilizes the classic Panda Bear tropes of expertly weaving weird and wonderful, dense and disorientating aural oddness with more accessible vocal prettiness. On the positively groovy "Jabberwocky," it's unclear whether Lennox is flirting with his own take on dubstep swagger or perhaps squaring up to the challenge set by the recent output of Britain's Grumbling Fur, to create the most satisfying concoction of experimental-yet-accessible "pop" music that is humanly possible. (All right, the fact is he's probably doing neither of those things but wherever his creative impulses come from, they're yielding bloody marvellous results: Panda Bear is at the very top of his game right now.)

Among such esteemed company, "The Preakness" (a song originally released in demo form in the Tomboy box set) is the EP's least engaging moment, a bit of a plodder if we're honest, on which Lennox's vocal range and technique come across as more impressive than emotive. However, he quickly picks things up once more on the mellow final number, "Cosplay." Don't worry about that song title, this isn't Panda Bear's bandwagon-jumping hymn to grown adults dressing up as Sailor Moon and running around in the local forest battling fictional bad guys. Rather, it's a slow kind of cockeyed ballad on which Lennox repeats the mantra "marijuana makes my day, marijuana day, marijuana, marijuana makes my day, mari-marijuana makes my day, ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh..." Ah, so that's where he gets his crazy ideas. (www.pbvsgr.com

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