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Panda Bear

Tomboy (Paw Tracks)

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., May 20, 2011

Phases & Stages

Panda Bear

Tomboy (Paw Tracks)

Tomboy's an ambitious work that finds its power and grandiosity in the slightest moments – an album that demands headphones, yet equally compels to crank the stereo. Like the intricate raves that have come to characterize Animal Collective's jams, Noah Lennox's fourth solo album thrives on nuances. Delivering a lesser follow-up to 2007 stunner Person Pitch, the cut chemist continues torquing Brian Wilson into the Digital Age, first and foremost on the harmony-licked loops of opener "You Can Count On Me" and "Surfer's Hymn." And despite the compelling collision of AM pop with the warping, swirling sonic eddies of "Last Night at the Jetty," Tomboy lacks both the raw winsomeness and experimental flairs of the previous breakout, especially with the aptly titled "Drone" and the dragging "Friendship Bracelet." Still, "Scheherazade" surprises with an almost monastic lament atop a softly plodded piano and ambient sweeps, delivering subtle awe and tranquility.

***.5

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