Forget creating space. Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) sucks space away
like a star turning inward until his listeners are so close to the
music, they can feel him gently twisting and bending every note
toward the heavens. The most beautiful tracks on Lennox’s
first widely available solo disc Young Prayer are those that take
advantage of his almost preternatural knack for dissecting even the
most basic melodies and rebuilding them within his own personal
context — think “Pet Sounds” without the
near-perfect bookends of “I Just Wasn’t Made for These
Times” and “Caroline, No” to help keep the
attention ship afloat.

“Untitled #3” is so bare in its structure and
layering — simple guitar progressions jumping in between
notes on a piano — that the song by effect becomes the most
compelling cut on the album. The one-two punch of “Untitled
#5” and “Untitled #6” demonstrate where Panda
Bear’s eccentricity pays off — hand claps and kick-drum
play skeleton for the simplest of vocal chants and the spurts of
bright light seen through his lingering vocal patterns and bursting
guitar work has Lennox baring his innermost feelings and for once
we see Lennox at his best. Unfortunately, though Panda Bear’s
normalcy works to his advantage in these rare cases, his
adventurism and ethos can grow to become unappealing and
tiresome.

 

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars.

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