What people forget all too often about Panda Bear is that he's a drummer at heart. Consequently, when he incorporates instrumentals on top of his backing beats, they are often used to flesh out and expand upon the the ideas made possible rhythmically. When people reference the stomp-ish feel of his music, this is what they are normally getting at. Lennox doesn't allow his synthesizers breathe like some artists would, but instead treats them like temporary pulses of sounds. When Panda Bear the beat maker comes out, his musical ideas, though innovative, are always working in tandem with the rhythm rather than elevating above them. On "Boys Latin" this is idea is boiled down to its purest form, like it is in his best songs. The result is a twisting and psychedelic, yet all the while hyper focused three minutes of sound whose inner contradictions work to hypnotize rather than distract. It's a refreshingly humble approach to music, saying "I can't do everything, but I can do this one thing pretty well. So you should maybe check it out, man." Ladies and gentlemen, if after all these years Noah Lennox is still humble, we have no excuses left not to be.
"Boys Latin" appears on Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, officially out 13 January via Domino. Anthony's review of Panda Bear's recent EP Mr. Noah:
- Garrett Cottingham