Panda Bear Changes It Up With Mr. Noah EP

If the album art isn’t seizure-inducing enough, welcome to Panda Bear (formerly of Animal Collective) and his latest endeavor! Typically known for his gauze-y, repetitive, acid-trip-like sounds (may I refer you to “Comfy in Nautica“, one of my faves for a melancholy day…), which were not a far cry from any Animal Collective track… or his work with Daft Punk… this monster is unprecedented.

Named after himself, since his real name is NOAH (ta-da!) Benjamin Lennox, this EP consists of four of the busiest tracks I’ve heard compiled into a roughly 15 minute time period. (I’m intrigued that he chose to release four tracks, personally, since this release preempts his fourth solo record…)
Look… If you’re having one of those overstimulated kinda days, I’d advise you to listen when your head is clear.

Track-by-track, because that’s how it’s done here.

Mr. Noah EP
released 23 October 2014

1. Mr. Noah – Ah, title tracks. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again: they’d better deliver. If this is how Mr. Noah wants to be perceived, I can respect it. After an alien moon landing intro, this track fleshes out into the familiar, sort of repetitive model of tracks past, but with a new, boisterous overtone. Plus, it’s catchy as hell. I’ve been humming it since I caught my first listen!

2. Faces in the Crowd – SUCH a busy background! It reminds me of a motherboard… how I’d imagine the innards of a computer working… which truly is distracting from the, again, fairly repetitive lyrics and melody… Mr. Noah knows his model and uses it well. However, what I find to be different is the insertion of novel elements throughout the track, and how I do feel like I’m searching through a crowd for some sort of familiarity. Isn’t that strange? And GENIUS? Faces are relatively similar, and mostly just facial features differ. Variations of the same theme in this piece evoke those thought patterns in you while listening. I wanna hug him.

3. Untying the Knot – Más repetition… almost in round-like fashion. Do you remember singing “Row Your Boat” in a round with your elementary music class? Layer upon layer of sound makes things a bit more interesting. While this is more intricate, it’s impossible to stop listening once you’re in it. The shortest track on the EP, you’re going to wonder where the hell it went… it whizzed by! I just recommend another listen. 😉

4. This Side of Paradise – What is this, a transistor radio?? I can’t lie, I like some continuity between songs, and for whatever reason, this transfer of thoughts from the previous track to this one bugged me… where the lack of continuity didn’t faze me the previous three tracks! Perhaps it’s got something to do with the fact that, while the backbeat and the mids are way interesting, I don’t feel like the lyrics or sound mixing of the vocals are up to par. Dragged the whole track down! These things matter, Noah… don’t think you can just slap some mediocre sludge over a psychedelic space sound and expect me to be ok with it.

FINAL THOUGHTS: I’m looking forward to PB’s full-length, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (PBVSGR), due to drop 13 January 2015. I’m praying for a legit tracking placement and a few mastery and mixing tweaks for an optimal aural experience, but I think he’ll deliver. As it stands, the EP shows promise; it’s not perfect, but just enough to whet the appetite. Solid ♦♦♦♦/5.

One comment on “Panda Bear Changes It Up With Mr. Noah EP”

  1. […] I reviewed this EP back in November, I included the insane cover art. I couldn’t do that this time. Could. Not. […]

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