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'Tomboy,' Panda Bear 

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Noah Lennox has always been the brighter spirit amongst the creative dervishes in neo-psych group Animal Collective. Insofar as the band is pop, Lennox is the reason. All comparisons the group gets to the Beach Boys (and God, do they?) are because of him. His 2007 album, Person Pitch, recorded under the solo moniker, Panda Bear, was exultant and very nearly spiritual. An album full of loops and samples, it managed to be simultaneously nerdy and longwinded — also providing a huge hipster summertime jam in “Bro’s.”

 

Tomboy is darker. Lennox calls it “more serious.” He samples his own compositions here, so the pop reference points are muted. Overall, it’s more consciously heady. And it’s perhaps unfair to compare it to Person Pitch — a vastly different album — but comparisons will come, so I’ll offer mine: Tomboy is every bit as academically rewarding as Person Pitch. In his bands and as a solo artist, Lennox is changing how we think of pop music — but it’s harder to get carried away by it.

DOWNLOAD: “Last Night at the Jetty”

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