Album: Panda Bear

Person Pitch, PAW TRACKS
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The Independent Culture

Person Pitch is the third album from Panda Bear, aka Noah Lennox, drummer and guitarist with psychedelic-folk quartet Animal Collective. It's a more buoyant affair than 2004's Young Prayer, whose sombre tone perhaps reflected Lennox's response to his father's death; this time round, the circumstances - marriage, fatherhood, relocation to Lisbon - are more positive, and so is the music, built from layered loops and found sounds, and capped by plangent, Beach Boy-ish vocals. The effect recalls the dense, swirling sample-scapes created by The Avalanches, and has a similar mix of attractions and drawbacks. The 12-minute "Bros" is typical, Lennox's harmonies riding a Wilsonian loop-groove, with sundry traffic noises and animal wailings shifting shape around the core of rhythm guitar. Bubbling cauldrons and departing trains adorn tracks like "Take Pills" and "Comfy in Nautica". But when the metamorphoses are taken at too leisurely a pace the repetitions become tedious, while the glorious, uplifting vocals are often rendered indistinct in the muddy mix. "Do you know what I mean?" asks Lennox at one point. Well, sadly, no.