Panda Bear
Person Pitch
(Paw Tracks, 2007)

Panda Bear’s Person Pitch has some of my favourite record cover art from this year. It’s a curious yet vaguely familiar photographic collage featuring an assortment of kids in fun hats and friendly animals sitting in a little wading pool. It’s like something out of a book you read years ago, like a hazy but fond memory. Everything about this record is soaked in sunny nostalgia, nodding to anything that might happen on a summers day in the ‘sixties while still managing to be unlike anything you’ve ever heard before. Sole member and Animal Collective collaborative Noah Lennox’s reverb drenched vocals and harmonies have warranted a Beach Boys comparison in every article written about this record. Impossible to deny, but Lennox refuses to get stuck on anybody else’s turf, constantly surprising listeners with the sumptuous layers of his loosely swirling songs.
A collision of warm and homemade lo-fi fuzziness and samples, and the cyclical thoroughness of dance music results in the most proficient of bedroom-produced records. It’s a sunny record but never lazy or languishing, and Lennox seems to have a never-ending supply of the most gorgeous loops and samples, the sweetest and most evocative of sounds to be heard on any record released this year. Bros is twelve and a half minute jangly epic that blissfully stumbles its way through chapters and changes, free from a singly dull moment, mostly lead by Lennox’s lush and echoed vocal loops and topped with distant sounds of fireworks and chanted melodies.
The record ends with the brief and simple Ponytails, a soft, piano-driven song that sounds like something you’d want to hear while you were swimming underwater or while you were laying out, drunk from too much sun. It finishes so soon, like summer, and when my itunes moves onto whatever’s next in my library, it’s hard not to miss.

And as I spend December wondering what the hell I’ll do with my summer, Person Pitch almost lays it out for me. A warm haze of sunny days spent in the passenger seat of some car, my skin freckled and my eyes closed, the magnificent light streaming through trees and leaves, never still and always changing, playing the softest of games on my eyelids.

**** and a half.