[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=opNf23OE-Bs&h=25] It's always been somewhat of a stretch to call even the catchiest moments of Animal Collective songs pop. Panda Bear (a.k.a. Noah Benjamin Lennox) Seemed to drive the band's most flagrant hooks, and that's arguably why he's the most successful on his own.
With the quartet-turned-trio now doing a Beatles impression with the everyone-writes-alone approach, Lennox has used the half-hiatus to put out a new record. He's taken the latest of the Collective's synth-pop side to polish the rough edges of Person Pitch (2007). The chorus-heavy vocals of Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009) are a highlight here, finding a slightly new home.
It basks in its hipster supremacy - as grosse as that may sound. This is where Tomboy is at its weakest, when it relies on the Animal Collective palette too much. However, this record is able to avoid tedium because Lennox does this sound so well. It's an impressive album, even if half the material sounds familiar. Panda Bear is doing it with experience, and a renewed sense of dynamics.
As a whole, things are lighter here - and that's the biggest difference in this material from anything else Lennox has released. Avey Tare's screams are inevitably absent, but it's more than that. This is a Panda Bear record of summer hits, white boy bounce and sing-alongs. Maybe this has been the direction he's been heading all along, but now it's more accessible than ever.