ALBUM REVIEW: PANDA BEAR – “A DAY WITH THE HOMIES”

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Animal Collective co-founder Panda Bear (aka Noah Lennox) is back with his first taste of new music since his 2015 EP Crosswords in the form of a limited édition 12-inch entitled A Day With The Homies (out Jan. 12th via Domino)

Lennox contributed to Daft Punk’s 2014 Grammy Awards success, with his appearance on the track Doin’ It Right in 2013, from Random Access Memories, which won them Album of the Year. For the most part, this EP gives the feeling of an oversimplified, yet crowded version of something similar to that track.

Although the album starts off on a high point with “Flight”, overall it seems to be without real direction. “Flight”, emulates a bass-heavy Beach Boys’ Sounds of Summer, but as it progresses into “Part of the Math”, it begins to sound like to a slowed down track off of The Prodigy’s The Experience. By the end of the second track, “Part of the Math”, you’re hearing harmonica, electric guitar, and deep bass on top of each other. The fifth and final track of the EP, “Sunset”, is a combination of all of the styles experimented with on the album, with more of a psychedelic twist. Lennox has always seemed to have an affection for the darker side of lyrics and that meshes well with the deep bass and synth interludes, but the other contrasts are not flattering.

The oversimplification of the song arrangement is something that we were used to hearing in the time of groups like The Chemical Brothers and Crystal Method, but nowadays it seems to be surpassed by advancements in the production process. That said, it does have a bedroom pop feel to it, so if you’re looking for something to explore and find your own meanings in, or to just float off for a bit to, this could be for you.

In comments about the EP, Lennox said that “the songs aren’t lyrically linear or narrative as such, though I did scatter pieces of longer-chewed themes across the tracks.” The most noticeable theme seemed to be a story of random violence and darkness, especially with lines like in the middle of “Part of the Math”, where he says – in an upbeat matter, mind you – “stop making it about your shit, we’re all going to be six feet in the coldest ground.” Releasing the album solely on vinyl was a bold move, but the album does have a pre-millenium feel to it, so the audience it’s intended for will likely receive that decision well.

While it’s as experimental as the music he’s been making with Animal Collective for the past two decades, as well as his previously successful solo works, A Day With The Homies is not Panda Bear’s strongest release to date.

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