It’s hard not to think of Panda Bear as a ‘them’ or ‘they’. Though widely known to be the solo project of Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox, the multi-vocal layering and abstract pop arrangements of Person Pitch made Panda Bear feel like a mirror of Animal Collective. A softer, more melodic group. However standing centre-stage at Vicar Street, armed with a guitar, sampler, keyboard and drum machine, Lennox reaffirms that this is indeed a one man show.
As one-third of Animal Collective, the most singular and uncompromising band of recent times, Lennox has no problem taking this platform to be ineffably experimental and heavily self-indulgent. Backed by a screen of striking images Panda Bear plays a collage of mostly unknown but still familiar kaleidoscopic dream-pop. The vocals are hymn-like, almost chanting in places, over static noises and looped rumbling beats. There’s an air of “performance art” about the set. It’s fascinating to be immersed in peculiar and bewildering echoes of voice, dripping rhythms and curious samples but when we finally hear -I’m Not’ from Person Pitch it acts as a reminder that we are not going to be treated much else from the classic album. No -Bros’, -Take Pills’ or -Comfy in Nautica’.
What we are treated to are some future classics. Playing around with stronger and more conventional beats, Lennox’s new material is a further pageantry of euphoric melody, that’s surprisingly direct in parts. One standout track is joyously summery with an undercurrent deep-house beat and had the audience known what to expect, the reaction may have been warmer.
While the show was an exciting showcase of new material, it was somewhat disappointing not to have experienced some signature tunes, but it’s not at all surprising. Panda Bear’s fourth album Tomboy is scheduled for release this coming September.
Photo by Loreana Rushe.