When we interviewed Panda Bear about his new album Buoys, he told us, “Person Pitch felt like the start of something new and this one does too.” It’s true: Noah Lennox set a certain template with his 2007 solo opus, one he tweaked in fascinating ways over the past decade. But by 2015’s Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, he seemed to have run out of ways to tweak that formula.
So with his latest set of songs, Lennox forbade himself from deploying signature Panda Bear sounds, particularly the stacked vocal harmonies that made him Brian Wilson meets Michelangelo, painting psychedelic Sistine Chapels of sound. Instead he explored extreme minimalism, building songs with acoustic guitar, vocals, tuned 808 samples, and little else. Alongside Rusty Santos, an old friend who’d produced Animal Collective’s Sung Tongs and Feels, Lennox created a new kind of Panda Bear album, one influenced by dub and trap music but imprinted with his unmistakable personality.
If you’ve heard “Dolphin” and “Token,” you probably understand the subwoofer-melting underwater odyssey on which you’re embarking. The rest of Buoys lives up to the standard set by those early singles. In fact, I’d say it ranks among the best records Panda Bear has ever been involved with. And now it’s all here for your enjoyment. Stream the full album below.
Buoys is out now on Domino.