Veering from the atonal to the sublime, Noah Lennox has produced an album of alien sounds which once again defy description. Experimental will suffice for now but it doesn’t really capture the depth and width of Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. The erstwhile Animal Collective member has pieced together a seemingly endless supply of musical elements which can either elevate or disturb, all the while he manages to remain melodic enough to remain catchy.
What it isn’t is perfect; but what is. There are times when the vocals seem to repeat the same flourish ad nausem, this up and down, in and out warble he has discovered. It’s not enough to ruin anything on the album, let alone the album itself, but it is enough to distract from the richness of everything else going on. The ethereal hums and ghostly reverb, used to perfection the brilliant ‘Davy Jones’ Locker’ – which can almost be
accused accredited with having a glam rock hue. This, perhaps, is the upshot of Lennox’s determination to create the album away from his introspective and all-consuming comfort zone.
Like his previous work, conversely, there is an argument that this album doesn’t contain a stand-out track from the 13 on it. An argument that is pretty easy to make, in all fairness. But since when has that been imperative… it’s not an album of instant hits, it’s an album of considered, well developed and deeply personal and resonant work. An album to be listened to from start to finish rather than cherry picking your way through; otherwise the listener may deprive themselves of the beauty of Lennox’s light and shade moments.