If we’ve come to expect anything from Noah Lennox, otherwise known as Panda Bear, it’s that his music is going to be unsettling in the most fun way possible. Take any of his solo material, or his work with Animal Collective, and try not to smile and feel scared at the same time. The latest piece of music we have from him is no different.
His new single, “Mr Noah,” starts out with a drone-like buzz that increases in pitch and volume, and nothing seems quite right in Panda Bear’s world. A voice aided with vocoder makes “wah” noises until it is met with a thumping drum that reminds us that this is actually music, not recordings of a fax machine from the 1970s.
Then Panda Bear’s exuberant voice enters, and the fun can finally begin. The ascending and descending “ay-ay-ay-ay” he provides makes you want to sing along, in spite of the unharmonious beginning of the track. Panda Bear seems like he is walking up a staircase as the song progresses; his vocals keep getting higher and higher, with the beat following right behind him.
Yet the jarring intro to the song is not forgotten. The music seems just a little askew, and the lyrics suggest a sense of urgency when Panda Bear sings “get out of bed.” Additionally, the drums seem a little too loud. You can dance to this song, but it might make you go insane from all that is happening in the background. A synthesizer is pounding out some sort of distorted mess and dogs keep yelping in high-pitched shrills. While you probably couldn’t discern the meaning of the song regardless, I don’t see why you would want to.
Considering this is a Panda Bear track, the sound and content makes perfect sense. While it won’t be accused of being extremely original, it’s good to hear from one of music’s foremost crazy innovators again, after a short break from his solo career. Expect his anticipated new album, the appropriately titled, Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, to match his previous work on their levels of joy and scariness.