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Album Review

Buoys Album Review

February 11, 2019

As a massive fan of Animal Collective,


has been on my radar for quite some time. I had the pleasure of hearing quite a few of these songs live in 2018 while Panda Bear was touring following the release of his vinyl-only EP,

A Day With the Homies

. I was initially a little underwhelmed by these songs in their live form and hoped that the finished versions would do them justice. Unfortunately, now that the record is finally here, I still feel pretty underwhelmed. However,


is not without its moments, and it’s clear that Panda Bear had some great ideas going into this record, they’re just not all executed to their fullest potential.

Panda Bear’s solo work for the past decade has been largely defined by meshing samples into a psychedelic soundscape. Whether it’s the pristine sunshine pop of

Person Pitch

or the goopy dance tunes of

Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

, Noah has always filled his mixes to the brim with sound.


takes the opposite approach, mostly relying on cute guitar melodies and very minimal electronic beats and samples, bridging the gap between the psychedelic folk of

Young Prayer

and the electronic beats of

Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

. The vocals are also a new direction for Noah. Normally, they are buried pretty deep in the mix, but on


, they are at the forefront with lots of autotune. This new experiment has mixed results, songs like “Dolphin” and “Token” are incredibly cute and catchy, and bring out the best of this style. Other times the excessive autotune and repetitive melodies can get a little grating, like on the track “Master”.

Essentially, this new sound leads to a record of hits and misses. And while some tracks don’t really do anything for me, there are definitely moments of greatness on this record. “Inner Monologue”, is a perfect example of this and is easily the emotional core of the album. The song uses a sample of a woman crying, emotional guitar melodies and vocal effects to create something very beautiful.

Overall, while I did feel a little underwhelmed, there are still some great moments on


. I’m glad Noah is still experimenting and trying new things with his solo releases. While it may not be one of my favorite Panda Bear releases, it is still another interesting sonic adventure in the Animal Collective catalog, and I look forward to how Noah’s time creating


will influence whatever releases he is involved with in the near future. 

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