Album Review of “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper” by Panda Bear

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Panda Bear – “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper.”

Panda Bear meets Grim Reaper cover
Panda Bear Meets Grim Reaper Album Cover Courtesy of

Artist: Panda Bear (Noah Lennox)
Album: Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
Released: January 9, 2015
Label: Domino
Producer: Sonic Boom

Website: (WARNING: Sound begins immediately when link is clicked)

Solo artist,“Panda Bear”, and band member of “Animal Collective”, Noah Lennox has released the long anticipated album, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. Similar to his most recent album Tomboy, released in 2011, Grim Reaper plays like an ongoing mental trip. This album resounds Lennox’s established position in the music world which is far from conforming to an unconventional style that packs a psychedelic punch.

Anticipating fans should not be disappointed. Funky, Introspective, and abstract, Grim Reaper opens up the world to Lennox’s mind that is hard to find on any conventional record. In comparison to artists like “Deerhoof”, “Grizzly Bear”, and “Kurt Vile” it’s fair to say that one could only expect a distinct experience of listening to this surreal album.

Grim Reaper features 80s and 90s sounding beats such as the appropriately titled song “Come to Your Senses”, where Lennox progressively repeats,“Are you mad?” The album indeed does have a come-to-your-senses type of vibe as seen in the lead single from the album and title track for the accompanying EP, “Mr. Noah” (in reference to Lennox). Perhaps the most popular track to emerge from the record, an entrancing loop of a whining dog and an electronically energizing beat makes this song rhythmically unique. The lyrics refer to drug use such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics. Lennox makes clear that he is not glorifying usage in the song, but that he doesn’t try cater to an audience that enjoys drug use and hopes that a sober listener could enjoy his music just as much.

The dreamy sensation that resonates in these songs reflects Lennox’s belief that people can get lost in their minds. “Boys Latin” synthesizes fluid melodies with the theme of consciousness as a state that is both a gift and a curse, spoken by the lyrics “Beasts don’t have a sec to think, but we don’t ‘preciate our things.” The final track on the album “Acid Wash” can be interpreted is a final and concluding statement by Lennox when he says, “Graph the spasm”, claiming how our minds are always in action, graphing, organizing, and categorizing all the chaos we see.

The lyrics from this album are relatively hard to decipher and quite out of the ordinary, but looking them up is strongly suggested to interpret the depth of their meaning. Overall, the album will surely be an enlightening listening experience to those who find the music of Panda Bear entertaining for its true individuality.


Paraphrasing Lennox:

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