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Tomboy is a homogenous record, its eleven songs a steady mix of jagged, attacking guitars and that one damn sunshine and rainbows harmony. But it is a dynamic record as well, alive, moving, intimate. I admit, what sold me on this beast was that first crack of “Slow Motion,” that snap that slices through the track’s as-yet-developed, unstoppable groove. It’s a jarring moment, a part that confirms what the broadened remasters of “You Can Count on Me” and “Tomboy” suggest: that Panda Bear still has the creative ingenuity that made him Animal Collective’s most fascinating member for the past half decade. It’s difficult to not appreciate the delicious irony of Noah opening Tomboy with “Know you can count on me” when the time between the release of the lackluster first cut of “Tomboy” and the album’s own highly anticipated release date had been just long enough to let doubts of Tomboy’s quality seep in. But there was no need for worry. Tomboy is every bit as good as it promised to be, and more.
The “as good” bit comes from the songs. Prerelease singles “Slow Motion,” “Alsatian Darn” and “Last Night at the Jetty” rightfully generated quite a buzz for Tomboy. In their unmixed form, they were terrific, showing a Panda Bear not so dissimilar from the Panda Bear whose Brian Wilson influence drenched Merriweather Post Pavilion and Fall Be Kind. When they’re mixed, however, they acquire new, exciting textures, filling the open space evoked by Lennox’s ever-present reverb. Producing credit goes to Sonic Boom, who earns it by deepening the low end of Panda Bear’s tracks and letting Lennox’s voice cover every inch of the record, creating Tomboy’s lush wall of sound. As he did on Person Pitch, Lennox trades in a beach-y, surf-y, what-have-you vibe. But unlike Person Pitch, Tomboy is immediate, as though Panda Bear has, for the first time in his solo career, allowed himself to come in close, singing not from a distance but vibrantly next to us.
OTHER NEW VINYL RELEASES:
Tv On The Radio, Nine Types Of Light
Foo Fighters, Wasting Light
Winter, Into Darkness
Jimi Hendrix, South Saturn Delta
Jeff Buckley, Grace
Brett Dennen, Loverboy
Feelies, Here Before
Rory Gallegher, Irish Tour 74
Ponytail, Do Whatever You Want All The Time
Rebelution, Bright Side Of Life
Rebelution, Courage To Grow
Thursday, No Devolucion