Noah Lennox’s sixth solo album as Panda Bear comes in the form Buoys, and is due out February 2019 on Domino. It’s the first Panda Bear release since 2018’s vinyl-only, self-mixed and self-produced release A Day With the Homies, and the follow-up to 2015’s kaleidoscopic Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper. Buoys is a novel record for an artist who is keen not to reproduce his own music, this is his own creative ethos. And, yes, this record is very different to his others.
Buoys was co-produced and co-mixed by collaborator Rusty Santos in Lennox’s adopted home of Lisbon, Portugal. The pair previously collaborated on Person Pitch, which is now ten years old, highlighting their longstanding relationship working collaboratively. This record features Lennox’s vocals alongside his beatific approach to melody and vocal phrasing, minimalist in parts with nothing but a guitar and a few textured samples to offer in the way of tracks. There is quite clearly a thread of speaker-limit-pushing sub-bass low-end throughout this LP.
Evidently, hoarding his interest in contemporary music production techniques, especially hip-hop, Lennox with the help of Santos envisioned something that would “feel familiar to a young person’s ears.” However, Buoys retains Panda Bear’s experimental style whilst taking a does of this hyper-modern production, making this new album appealing to Panda Bear fans.
Beginning with the nautical sounding Dolphin, it somewhat lives up to the expectations that titling it Buoys would offer. I Know I Don’t Know is one of the more classically rhythmic tracks that stand out for this reason. The title track Buoys is one of the more lyrical songs from this album, “lift this sick old leg, far from the other leg, lick this sick instinct, drip from a constant heart ache” but he does also use a vocal reverb which adds that echoed effect. Crescendo offers a rich amount of sampling amongst the guitar and sub-bass, offering a backdrop to Lennox’s more soulful vocals. Eclectic and varied in style, there is a highly stylised and vastly produced element to this new record of Panda Bear’s which means his fans won’t be disappointed.
Home Free finishes the album off nicely, melodic and rhythmic, with bass and samples included, incorporating all that we can enjoy from this album of Lennox’s. It’s a great offering from Panda Bear.
Buoys is out on 8th February 2019, via Domino Records.