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Boomkat Product Review:
When ‘Person Pitch’ appeared, it felt like even non Animal Collective fans had suddenly started to give a sh*t. It was clear from just a handful of songs that Panda Bear (Noah Lennox to his mates) was the creative mind behind the best bits of the best Animal Collective songs (I’m lookin’ at you ‘Peacebone’), and his landmark album was a disc that everyone could agree on with its ambitious, gregarious mix of genres and ideas. That's exactly the kind of praise that can make a followup album a ‘dreaded’ and ‘long-awaited’ album, and ‘Tomboy’ with its weird lineup of 7” pre-release singles and continuously delayed release date seemed for a while like it was heading in that direction. Thankfully I can tell you it is just as good as we had all hoped it would be; Panda Bear is still just as relevant as he was when he practically single-handedly kick-started a thousand Myspace accounts in 2007. The music still has the hallmarks of Lennox’s Brian Wilson-indebted sound, but what could have seemed like a flash-in-the-pan as a single album has become a fully formed beast on ‘Tomboy’. The difference between Lennox’s re-appropriation of techno, doo-wop, dub, world music and goodness knows what else, and most other pallid attempts at the same kind of thing, is that it sounds like he actually loves what he does. Not only the music that comes out of it, but the listening part – I get the sense that he really listens to the sounds, and when they appear on a song they feel sincere. The chunky oldskool rap break on ‘Slow Motion’, the doubletime Shangaan-style electrified kalimba of ‘Surfer’s Hymn’, the hazy drugged-up house of ‘Afterburner’; somehow it holds together, and usually by Lennox’s incredibly distinct songwriting and reverberating vocals. Like a great mixtape there’s something intrinsic that holds things together, maybe a theme, a small sound or a sample that just seems like it was plonked in just the right place at the right time. ‘Tomboy’ isn’t a record that ever gets dull, and through the mish mash of styles and the rampant experimentation it makes for an album that is more mature and more contemplative than its predecessor. Deep beneath the chattering samples and choirboy vocals there is the beating heart of a record that is likely to haunt you for the rest of the year. Highly Recommended.