There’s something unsatisfying about Noah Lennox’s newest material. The melodies are jagged, the rhythms simple with no inviting build. Gone are the distant-but-familiar samples and deliberate pacing. It comes across as a little flat.

Panda Bear

“You Can Count On Me”

But there’s a two-headed force to the material, which we hadn’t yet heard from Panda Bear or his contemporaries. The songs are sparse, matched with lower fidelity. But they never feel empty. They’re dense, but simple. With this tension, they hold a curious power and deliberation all their own.

“You Can Count On Me” is full of this duality. The song stops and starts on some wavering guitar and Lennox’s voice, but the melody never stops moving. After every phrase, there’s a pregnancy to the pause, filled with impenetrable things — dialogue, echoed keyboards, the dead ends of reverb. The melody never rests, constantly writhing and washing over, haunting the two minutes it holds before departing.

Throughout the song, Lennox’s words sound split; “Know you can count on me” sounds suspiciously like “No, you can’t count on me.” If these recent singles have proven anything, it’s that we really can’t count on Panda Bear. And in this case, that’s a good thing.

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