Panda Bear - Person Pitch
Release Date: April 7, 2007
Record Label: Paw Tracks
Noah Lennox, what have you created?
Panda Bear, or, Noah Lennox, drummer of Animal Collective, returns with his third solo album titled Person Pitch. Before I continue this review, let's discuss the musical influences and similarities. I've read countless reviews comparing this to The Beach Boys - Pet Sounds. There's no denying that Lennox could be a modern day Brian Wilson vocally. Itís not exact, but itís close. The comparisons basically end there. I suppose at times the percussion is comparable, but musically, and creatively, it's not very similar. The majority of the song structures and instrumentation are more complex, and the overall sound and feel of the two albums is anything but parallel. Pet Sounds is a collection of baroque pop songs with themes of love and loss. Itís one of the best pop albums to ever grace this sweet earth. It's magical. Legendary. Unfortunately, this album won't be. Not to the masses, anyways. Person Pitch is pretty inaccessible, and would never be played on mainstream music television and radio channels, which is unfortunate, because I doubt it will ever reach as many ears as it should.
The album begins with "Comfy in Nautica," one of the catchiest songs I've heard this year. It may sound strange, but when I first heard this song, I felt like I was in a cave with a bunch of runaway children, such as the Lost Boys of Peter Pan, all dancing and chanting into the night. Itís one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and canít find itís way out. Itís a fairly simple song, made up of hand claps, the occasional runway noise, and the beautiful harmonies from Lennoxís voice. With lyrics such as, ďTry to tell me how to do it, only because Iím new to it. Coolness is having courage, courage to do whatís right. Iíll try to remember always, just to have a good time.Ē Nothing too deep or insanely intricate, itís an obvious statement of doing what you believe is right and never conforming, and Iíve read that itís apparently a message to his daughter.
The album continues to grasp onto you and drag you deeper in with Take Pills. It starts out rather slow, but itís not tiresome or monotonous in any way. I felt as if I were in the middle of a dream, or laying in a field watching the sun as the night took over. At around 2 and a half minutes the soft strums of a guitar can be heard slowly fading in, gradually getting louder as a second drum beat is added and the first fades away, picking up the tempo of the song, while maintaining the feeling of some sort of ethereal dream-like state.
ďBros,Ē track three, begins with the hoot of an owl. It clocks in at 12 and a half minutes, and is fairly epic. Starting out with more of an up tempo standard pop song structure and feel, the first half definitely reminds me of something off of Pet Sounds. Full of catchy melodies that make you want to hop in the car and drive out towards the country roads playing it and singing along as loud as possible, though ďhappinessĒ is hardly the theme of the song. I wonít cover this entire song and spoil it for a ďsoon to be listener.Ē
The rest of the album continues with beautiful harmonies and vocals, and only gets more creative and less accessible from here on out, but thatís certainly not a bad thing. Itís one of the most aesthetic and innovative albums Iíve heard in a very long time. It does have itís flaws, though. Good Girl/Carrots, track 5 and another song that surpasses the 12 and a half minute mark is somewhat repetitive and doesnít flow very well. Itís definitely ďfar out there,Ē but not really in a good way. Aside from it, which isnít a terrible track by any means, the rest of the album is wonderful and continues to flow nicely.
There's a lot of variety to be heard on Person Pitch. Lennox has a way of a looping samples of music and an array of noises that can strike different emotions at anytime, throughout the entire album. It's electronic and sampled, but it's not dance music. The songs, individually, seem repetitive through the majority of the album, but it doesn't end up being stale or dull, but rather complete and leaves the listener satisfied.
In conclusion, this isnít a collection of 3 minute standard structured baroque pop songs such as Pet Sounds, and not as well written, but it certainly is beautiful. It's not at all a ripoff, but the influence is blatantly obvious. Like Wilson, Lennoxís harmonies and vocals are outstanding, and really make this album stand out from the rest. If youíre looking for something new, inventive, and inspiring, look no further. It might take a few spins to actually get into it, but when you do, be prepared to be blown away.
That's probably the best review I've read in a while. Everyone who's gotten pretty into this album that listens to a fairly large variety of music probably thinks relatively the same. It's exactly how I feel about it. There's definately a Beach Boys vibe to it even though it's a far cry from the sunshiney pop of Pet Sounds. Might be his voice or the harmony... I don't know. Good job though man, I hardly ever agree strongly enough to get on here and reply to these.
This album is so gorgeous. An intense listen, and all the DJ qualities I keep reading about in other reviews are apparent and really strike me, somehow. "Bros" really does seem to be it's peak, but the ride back down is nothing short of amazing...I hate calling favourites this early in the year, but I think this one will be on the top of my lists for a long time to come.