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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Aural Pleasure: Panda Bear's 'Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper'

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 7:23 PM

click to enlarge Cover of Panda Bear's Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper - COURTESY
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  • Cover of Panda Bear's Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Panda Bear | Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper | Domino | 4 stars

From the darker turn of his latest solo and Animal Collective work to the foreboding album title, it seemed Panda Bear (real name: Noah Lennox) might be ready to delve into the gloom. Not even close. Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper revives Lennox’s sunniest inclinations, powered by the shimmering, buoyant electronics and bright-eyed vocal musings that fueled his solo classic Person Pitch and AC’s Merriweather Post Pavillion.

From the pulsating “Come to Your Senses” to the contagious “Mr Noah,” the record establishes, arguably, Lennox’s strongest collection of beats and sonic worlds to date. If there is a criticism to be had, it’s that Lennox never really moves beyond this establishment stage. Grim Reaper’s 13 tracks mostly set a mood within their first 10 seconds and ride that respective groove for the remaining three to five minutes. But the evolving quality that made tracks like “My Girls” or “Bros” so thrilling never plays a part, a shame considering how exciting it would be to hear many of these songs unfold further. 

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