The cynical part of me wondered why Panda Bear would bother releasing a two song single and then call it a 7″ when hardly anyone even purchases music in physical form anymore. Sure, it has become a hallmark of non-trendy cool kids to have a record player these days and record collections have more cache than actual records but most people my age would have to Google “7 inch” just to know for sure what it was. But, then I heard “Tomboy” and “Slow Motion” and stopped worrying about it. While I am an avid Panda Bear fan I have never quite understood the appeal of Animal Collective and still don’t quite “get it.” Maybe, like my inability to determine whether or not red wine has spoiled, my mental taste buds are just a bit off. Anyway, I can hear the Panda influence in AnCo but I just find solo Panda far more interesting and appealing to my particular aesthetic preferences. I prefer brunettes too, in case you were wondering.
“Tomboy” and “Slow Motion” deploy the same hypnotic pacing that you’ve come to expect from a Panda Bear record. As he has before, he effectively deals in mood music that is expansive without being indulgent or bombastic. The percussion and guitars are noticeably prominent on both tracks, especially in the early going, while the unobtrusive harmonizing remains with hints of a latent echo that give the sound a light roundness. Complex arrangements are blurred into willowy consonance and it all feels pared down. Lyrics as words are of secondary importance to their resonance. A commitment to prosody holds it all together, perhaps too much so. The tracks are layered but never overwrought. In a way, the two songs are bit too neat. If that sounds like a quibble, it is, but I sometimes wish some of the production process’s roughness remained. An ragged edge or two could add some real bite. This Bear comes off a bit tame.