Panda Bear - Crosswords - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Panda Bear - Crosswords

by Justin Pearson Rating:7 Release Date:2015-11-13

Already released as a stream/download, Noah Lennox's Crosswords EP under his by-now-familiar Panda Bear moniker is finally getting its physical release. While it still maintains his trademark sound, it doesn't really push it any further. But then again, why would it? The EP format is usually reserved for tracks that for some reason or another don't make it onto an album. The beginning of the year saw the release of his excellent Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. It's hard to imagine that album any differently than presented, so the songs here seem appropriately placed.

You could view Crosswords as the leftovers, reminding you of the freshness that preceded them. But these songs are actually satisfying and easy to digest without the feeling of obligation that usually precedes next day comsumption.

'Crosswords (EP Mix)' bubbles and gurgles as if it's been submerged underwater and is slowly coming up to the surface. It's not really so much an improvement on the original, but more like a different take on it. Remix attempts often fall short, but the song's essential core remains. Similarly, Lennox takes Tomboy-era 'The Preakness' from its previous crawl to a refreshing gallop without really changing it too much. It's just turned up a bit this time.

'No Mans Land' feels happy and squeaky clean despite its contemplation of life and death. It bounces back and forth anxiously between certainty and fear, but all you want to do is dance.

Obviously inspired by the Lewis Caroll poem, 'Jabberwocky' channels a trippy weirdness. One of its verses takes a popular figure of speech and makes it literal: "Shoot for the stars/ Then you only end up lost in space." Somehow, this isn't discouraging. Instead, you want to see what's out there, and this is the perfect song to do it in.

'Cosplay' is built around one single line stating a primary reason for smoking weed: "Marijuana makes my day." The song is as chill as the subject matter, and characteristically repetitive in the way that only a musician like Lennox seems capable of. Around and around it gradually and relaxingly bores a hole into your consciousness, yet never bores as the adjective that would normally apply to this type of setup.

Crosswords is distinctly Panda Bear, that goes without saying. Ultimately, it serves as a reminder of how much better a whole, concise album from this artist is. Even though it ends up being mostly filler for the space until the next album, it's solid and sustaining enough to chew on for awhile.

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