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If you just can't get enough Animal Collective/Panda Bear/Avey Tare etc etc etc then here's a five track EP which contains absolutely no songs whatsoever off Panda Bear's recent 'Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper' record. Instead there are three completely new tracks and two older reworked ones all recorded under the watchful eye of Sonic Boom. If you liked that 'Meets the Grim Reaper' opus then this is a surefooted enough follow on. 

  • 12" £7.49
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  • RUG696T / 12" EP on Domino
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  • RUG696CD
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Crosswords EP by Panda Bear 1 review. Add your own review. 7/10
12 people love this record. Be the 13th!

7/10 Staff review, 11 November 2015

Remember when Grizzly Bear leaked an Animal Collective song on their blog, whatever that is, way back in 2008? That whole sentence is fucking crazy, but let’s hone in on the end: 2008! It’s been seven years since Merriweather Post Pavillion came out, which is an utterly ridiculous statistic to have to be dealing with in our lives. It’s been that long since indie rock’s idiot darlings peaked, and a slew of post-Pavillion releases have only suggested a late-career contentedness for fucking about: Centipede Hz, a mud-slinging rock record; Tomboy, the slowest album of all time; Avey Tare solo albums! We’re living through a period of irresponsible blockbuster sequels as ridiculous as the whole Fast and Furious franchise. 2Animal2Collective.

You gotta appreciate the sequels for what they are, though, so here it is: Panda Bear has a new EP out, the second of two bookends for his ‘Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper’ record. There are those among you who accuse our baby arctic monster of doing the same thing ad nauseum over every album: take samples, rain sunshine onto them and create hypno-pop music. For me, though, the stakes have drastically changed this year: ‘Tomboy’ lulled the PB project to sleep, temporarily greying out the music to sound percussively dependent but also lethargic and ambient. ‘Grim Reaper’ ups the tempo, busies the decks and adds blushes of colour, making it sound like there are a good ten Panda Bear’s working on the record, rather than just one. ‘Crosswords’ offers more of the same: buzzsaw samples on “Jabberwocky” combine with the kind of lazing beat you might hear as part of old-school hip-hop production, the faraway production coupling with swinging vocal harmonies that blur the lines rather than fade them away.

This period of Panda Bear’s career has been his most playful, and 'Crosswords' shows that in excess: “Cosplay” is kind of ridiculous, toned with the same wobbly synth production as its older sibling of a record, but just a little bit too silly to fit with it (its Lion King chant: “Marijuana makes my day / marijuana makes my day / mari-mari-juana!”). “The Preakness” brings back an older PB song, originally used for AnCo’s alone-together ‘Keep’ EP, but flares up its production for a bustling baroque pop trip (and… uh… a harmony that sounds a lot like “If You Tolerate This Then Your Children Will Be Next”? Tight.) He does it every time, I know, but it still gets me when PB flips the aesthetic, only to run the same pop song formula through it. So, again: Panda Bear’s marrying gorgeous harmonies with a perfect atmosphere, making ‘Crosswords’ a slightly silly companion to a very good year.




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