Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox is a rare breed of artist who makes music inspired by his record collection, and isn’t afraid to show it. Paying homage to what presumably must have been years locked away in his bedroom listening to quality albums, Tomboy is a record, which, not only pays tribute to these influences, but betters them.
Picking up from the wonderful Person Pitch in 2007, Tomboy seems to be a work that offers more than just candy sweet melodic hooks on a conveyer belt – which its predecessor seemed to be preoccupied with.
‘Drone’, like the name suggests, is an experimental walk into the world of messing with singular notes, in both voice and instrument, no doubt influenced by Sonic Boom who lent a hand on mixing duties. Sonic Boom himself has proved he has little time for hooks and changes on his own songs and on the recordings of Spaceman 3.
The sweet acoustic guitar sound on ‘Alsatian Darn’ has all the resemblance of a ’60s folk song only to turn into something with far more grandiose where Lennox’s dreamy vocals burst in repetition over the jingling mesh of soundscapes which enfolds in the background.
The electronic and dance elements come to the fore on both title track ‘Tomboy’ and the epic ‘Afterburner’ which is halfway between a sacred Gregorian Chant hymn, and the last tune to be played at an all night rave. The note perfect, ‘Last Night at the Jetty’ is a scientific lesson in how to utilise scale in vocal melody, to create true beauty.
It’s the layered ambiguity that Lennox employs in his arrangements, that makes every track sound fresh, listen after listen. Tomboy is a work that shows by honouring your heroes, you can sometimes beat them at their own game.