Album Review: Panda Bear Takes a Calming Breath on the Immersive Buoys

The Lowdown: For Buoys, Noah Lennox’s sixth solo album as Panda Bear, he decided to slow things down. Reunited with producer and longtime collaborator Rusty Santos on their first Panda Bear record together since Person Pitch, Lennox made it a goal to explore modern methods of recording and production in his current home of Lisbon. Beginning with a sketch of vocals, guitar, and simple arrangements, he built off those using Auto-Tune and other elements of rap production to expand his sound. The result is an album that evokes the feeling of being submerged in a sensory deprivation tank, awash with sound that envelops the listener in a gentle, serene manner. Lennox’s sparsest music since Young Prayer and the early days of Animal Collective, Buoys is an immersive wonder. [Listen: Panda Bear on How Success Affected Animal Collective] The Good: Lennox is a master at crafting bright melodies that rush and overwhelm, stretching the definitions of pop music by incorporating atonal and dissonant sounds alongside sugary hooks. He stretches the syllables of words, taking the familiar and making it sound like something completely new, pairing that with tunes that sound like they could come from Gregorian chants. He gradually builds pieces […]