New Release: TOMBOY

Panda Bear [Paw Tracks]


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Judging from the first two tracks, Panda Bear's Tomboy sets high expectations. But to listen to the Lisbon-based musician, whose signature sound recalls that of the Beach Boys (a reference so many reviews of the artist find difficult to escape) is to inevitably compare Noah Lennox's latest work with his previous releases. Whereas the artist's last album utilized repetition with intent to massage, Tomboy indulges in a lackluster reiteration to the point of regurgitation.

Better known as a founding member of Animal Collective, Lennox employs an electronic style noteworthy for its blended harmonies. The artist's solo career reached its pinnacle with the critically-acclaimed release of Person Pitch in 2007, an album marked by swelling crescendos and church-choir purity. A similar sound survives in Lennox's Tomboy, save for a key component: soul.

With this release, Lennox seems more concerned with expanding the confines of his trademark sound. Sampling and genre-hopping characterize Tomboy, making for an inconsistent album concerned with experimentation more than overall cohesion. While Person Pitch's repetition lent itself to a stirring and immersive experience, Tomboy lacks that clearly constructed mood, proving more general in breadth and shallow in depth. The album remains unpolished, much like an artist's rough models, prematurely snatched from the drawing board and released as a finished work - yet this was Lennox's final cut.

Like a son living under the shadow of his father's singular reputation, Tomboy pales in comparison to Person Pitch. It bears the qualities that made the latter so unparalleled; if only Tomboy had come first, perhaps it might have made a more lasting impression.

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