Panda Bear - A Day With The Homies - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Panda Bear - A Day With The Homies

by Mark Moody Rating:7 Release Date:2018-01-12
Panda Bear - A Day With The Homies
Panda Bear - A Day With The Homies

Not nearly as obfuscated as the image on the cover with its criss-crossing fonts, Panda Bear’s EP A Day With the Homies shows Noah Lennox at his most transparent.  If not lyrically, at least the heavily rhythmic tracks are stripped down to fewer bits and pieces than his normal fare or that of Animal Collective.  If the inner workings of an Animal Collective track are the equivalent of peering inside the back of a self winding Swiss watch whirring crazily along in opposing directions, Homies is more of a windmill turning a shaft and a gear or two.  The fact this EP is released on vinyl only may in of itself hearken back to simpler times when no one would have dared to layer fourteen tracks on top of each other and create a thing of wonder.  Homies is the simpler layering of no more than four things at once - the antiquated overhead projector with the teacher adding and removing a slide or two at a time.  The approach doesn’t detract from the interest level and in fact may give a glimpse into the building blocks of Lennox’s process.

Side one has two longer tracks clocking in at over six minutes apiece.  The opener, ‘Flight’, has the simplest most pastoral feel of the lot (copping some cricket sounds from Deakin) and also is the most vocally focused.  The song veers about as close to Brian Wilson’s version of  ‘Sloop John B’ as you are going to get from Lennox and his usual AnCo homies including the lyric “we got the good crew” to put you right on board.  With its low register harmonies and sprightly cadence ‘Flight’ is the most fun to be had with the best and most timely line here - “steppin’ out the doo doo one foot at a time”.  Conversely, ‘Part of the Math’ has a more serious feel with a hammered saw reverb setting the base layer and corrosive synths accompanied with motorik drumming rounding things out.  Towards the end of the track Lennox gently mocks ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’’s grocery list of albinos, mulattoes and mosquitos with his own list of animals, minerals, and vegetables, keeping things at their component parts.  Both tracks are comfortably lengthy and compelling but opposite sides of the coin in feel.

The second side, with an extra track, has the vocals more obscured by thicker slabs of effects.  ‘Shepard Tone’ begins with a train chugging straight into rapidly firing drum machine pistons.  That’s overlaid with a backwardized and scratchy ‘Baba O’Riley’ organ riff creating the densest and most challenging track here.  The most downcast track, ‘Nod to the Folks’ is bass heavy thumpy and matched with slow, syrupy drumming.  The gently whining air raid siren background slowly grinds to a halt as the track winds down.  The final track ‘Sunset’ is probably the least interesting of the bunch with skittering beats simply offset by some melty synth lines.

Do you need to run out and invest in a turntable, preamp and speakers to hear A Day With the Homies?  Probably not.  But if you already have the set-up or a good friend who does, it definitely provides a different and less filtered view into what makes Panda Bear’s clock tick.  And that’s worth taking a look at.             


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