It’s only been six months since Noah Lennox released Time Skiffs with his Animal Collective counterparts and he’s already returned with Reset. For his latest Panda Bear offering, Lennox united with Peter Kember aka Sonic Boom (formerly of Spaceman 3) to make music that allowed them to indulge in their enjoyment of listening to old records. The pair met via MySpace while in different parts of the world; now both reside in Portugal, and since 2011 their friendship has blossomed into a prosperous musical partnership.
In many ways, Reset is a call for getting back to basics. Sonically, Kember and Lennox utilised the foundations of rock and pop from the 1960s as reference points for these nine iridescent arrangements. This is felt across the record from ‘Gettin’ to the Point’s’ the looped sample of Eddie Cochran’s ‘Three Steps to Heaven’, incorporating a wall of sound sensibility across ‘Livin’ in the After’ as well as taking a leaf from the the likes of The Everly Brothers and The Beach Boys with their approach to layered vocal harmonies (‘In My Body’). The lightness of the palette makes for an enjoyable listening experience, often picking up where Person Pitch and Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper (co-produced by Kember) left off.
Beneath the buoyant textures however are lyrics weighted by doom and dread. “Fallen so deep, I’m gonna drown, drown, drown,” Panda Bear intones in his inherently melancholic cadence on ‘Whirlpool’. The duality of the lyrical themes and carefree musicality coupled with the contrast of Panda Bear and Sonic Boom’s performances are integral to Reset’s success.
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