Monday, August 31, 2009

  2. Person Pitch - (2007)

Starting an album with a clattering of industrial rhythms sliding into a huge clap-and-stompalong with angelic vocals and what sounds like the Brotherhood of Man on a vocal loop tip not far removed from Suicide or Laurie Anderson is one way to make a mark. The fact that Panda Bear, aka Noah Lennox himself, sings like Brian Wilson and produces his voice to sound like it is another, though it has to be said that it just makes his Animal Collective membership all the more clear at this point. Person Pitch is very much an end product of a variety of musical trends in whatever can be called indie rock in the early 21st century — big-sounding, absolutely dedicated to texture and sonic playfulness, and somehow aiming to make a lot of interesting ideas seem kinda flat. There's no question there's both an audience for Panda Bear's work and the sounds he's playing around with, and to his considerable credit he creates a series of moody and memorable loops throughout. Songs like "Take Pills" and "Good Girl" are miles away from the rhythm-by-numbers of many of Panda Bear's contemporaries; importantly, after so many bands that just want to sound like late-'60s Beach Boys lock, stock, and barrel, the fact that there's a recognition that production and beat technology didn't stay frozen in time stands out. At its best, with the song "Bros," there's a beautiful transcendence that lives up to all the promise that has surrounded Panda Bear's work, the song slowly but surely evolving into a fantastic epic that could easily stand on its own as an EP. Still, the sweetness is almost too gooey, and what should be providing a healthy contrast ends up dragging the best instrumental moments down more than once, almost literally getting in the way of the striking sonic collages. It may be heresy to some, but conceivably Person Pitch would be at its best if it were strictly instrumental. (

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