You know you’re out there when you go by an animal’s name. Appropriately so, Noah Lennox (aka Panda Bear)’s album, Person Pitch, is a strange, distorted mix of folk and psych-rock that sounds like a haunted sampling of organic noises. Ripples of ’60s pop are surrounded by waves of experimental effects, creating an adventurous trip through a psychedelic forest: one that a person who goes by Panda Bear would actually live in.
The seven songs of widely-varying length are shrouded in a thick layering of echoes, wind, re-imagined instruments, and various odd (sometimes animal) background noises. While loosely based on twee pop, Person Pitch stretches the notion of pop and gives it more of campfire quality. The second-longest track (at 12:30) is "Bros", a swirling gallop of acoustic & tambourine giddiness mixed down through a valley of chorus and a distorted male voice intertwined in Panda’s own vocals. It’s a pleasant sonic journey with no particular destination, but ultimately, the child-like attitude is hard to keep attentive for the entire length. Similar, but far shorter, is "Take Pills", which uses the same techniques, but adding the sounds of water.
There are a few tracks on Person Pitch that are more experimental or full-bodied than these. "Good Girl/Carrots", the longest song at 12:42, employs a light alarm-clock melody with highly reverbed vocals and pattering jungle beat in the background for the first third of the song. It then delves into a soft hip-hop swing and eventually kicks back into a spacy twee jangle. A more involved trip than "Bros", showing off more of Panda’s mixing and sampling imagination. "I’m Not" is a wispy flow of female vocals mixed around a tetherball pole of a light, swaying dance beat. The opener, "Comfy In Nautica" is a clapping chant-along in which Panda’s vocals reach catchy heights.
While highly experimental and imaginatively combines basic pop elements with the latest in surreal effects, Person Pitch is more thought-provoking than useful. It’s a piece of fantasy art, evoking dream sequences and far-off places through textures of sound that everday people just don’t hear very often. While Panda may approach getting lost in the love of the unfamiliar, for the most part, Person Pitch is a pleasurable romp through an unexplored forest of sound.