Panda Bear gives a delicious taste of what’s to come with “Mr. Noah.”


Photo credit/ Katlynn Whitaker

Patrick Kernan, Opinion Editor

Noah Lennox, better known by his stage name Panda Bear, is the Lennon to Avey Tare’s McCartney in Animal Collective: spacey, crooning, and serious, while Avey Tare (David Portner) is brash, loud, and goofy. And nowhere is this more prevalent than in the solo work released by the two.

However, with Lennox’s latest EP,“Mr. Noah,” he explodes onto the scene with a title track that sounds totally unlike anything he’s done to this point. Lennox is known for plodding songs that slowly build, but “Mr. Noah” comes with this sludgy electric guitar and a highly danceable beat.

After the opening title track, “Mr. Noah” as an EP settles more into a sound that Panda Bear fans will be more familiar with, but Lennox makes sure to pepper in new sounds that his fans are sure to find exciting.

On the second track, “Faces in the Crowd,” Lennox’s vocals are nothing short of beautiful. Although Lennox has a habit of simply singing up and down the scales in many of his songs—see his work with Daft Punk, “Doin’ It Right” for a particularly obvious example—there’s something remarkable about the simplicity of the sound.

Simplicity, however, is the totally incorrect word to describe the appropriately-titled “Untying the Knot.” The third track on the EP opens with a string section plucked from a Chinese opera, but quickly moves into a favorite staple on many of Panda Bear’s songs: complex layering of totally different vocal parts.

The track quickly builds into something that cannot really be described, but just has to be experienced and “untied” for oneself.

“Mr. Noah” finishes with the strangely jazzy “This Side of Paradise.” This is the most “pop” sounding track on the EP, with pretty simple, catchy vocals by Panda Bear standards.

The song still maintains the trademark Panda Bear style—and avoids any sort of Top 40 appeal—through the use of a droning backing track. Then, for the last minute or so of the track, it breaks down into an instrumental reminiscent of “Kid A” era Radiohead.

“Mr. Noah,” as a song, serves as the first single off Lennox’s forthcoming album “Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper.” Despite the fact that, according to Pitchfork, the remaining three songs on the EP will not be on the album, they appear to point to a new direction for Panda Bear.

Lennox will still be using some of his trademark sounds, but he’ll also be using some totally new sounds. “Mr.Noah” serves as both a great stand-alone EP, and a preview of great things to come. I’m giving “Mr. Noah” a 5 out of 5.