Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Album Review by Colm McAuliffe | 06 Jan 2015
Album title: Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Artist: Panda Bear
Label: Domino
Release date: 12 Jan

Noah Lennox’s fifth outing may have a rather portentous title but the content within is so much more than a simple dialogue with death. Then again, nothing is simple in Panda Bear’s sonic toolbox; if anything, the album is teeming more than ever with off-piste diversions and excursions, contrary sampling and a firm 90s hip-hop pulse. Lennox has a remarkable ability to craft wonderful vocal hooks from the air and build them like blocks of Lego, sustaining the stunning spatial awareness elsewhere.

Lead single Mr Noah has a strut and swagger previously absent from Lennox’s oeuvre, while other standout track Boys Latin has a glorious synth bassline held underwater and peppered by startlingly effective panning vocal harmonies. His only other album that really sounds like this is 2007 effort Person Pitch, but Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper takes that template and pushes and drags it into all manner of magnificently genre-defying perambulations.