This record is a beautiful gem, both for people who know nothing about gems but appreciate things like color, and for those who can see the nuances of cut and clarity. On the surface there is a vaguely Brian Wilson melodic quality, but when you scratch off the waxy fog there is a something strange and surreal underneath. This is no surprise as Noah Lennox, aka Panda Bear, is one of the oddball members of the Animal Collective and now an American ex-pat living in of all places Portugal.
History aside, these strangely seductive pop narratives meander mostly along groovy percussion based riffs before evolving into bigger, broader soundscapes that feel more 60’s than 21st century. With only seven songs, two of them weighing in at over 12 minutes, there is a kind of uplifting joy that oozes from each of them a bit like it does with Polyphonic Spree or Mercury Rev.
Ultimately this is something small and precious, that taps “Pet Sounds” but more in spirit than anything else: a hand-clapping, toe-tapping, chorus-humming masterpiece.