Review: Buoys by Panda Bear

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By: Sparks
IG: islesparks

The news that Panda Bear’s upcoming album, Buoys, was to be co-produced by Rusty Santos had myself and others buzzing with curiosity at how the new album would sound. Rusty co-produced Panda Bear’s explosive second album Person Pitch (2007) along with two of Animal Collective’s albums, Feels (2005) and Sung Tungs (2004). Finally, on February 8th, the world was able to experience Buoys.

At first, it appears this project is stripped back compared to his previous albums and EPs, many of which featured heavy vocal effects and layering, ambience, and samples. But if you listen closely, all of Panda Bear is present, his old and his new sounds blended together to create a new world. The acoustic guitar is reminiscent of Panda Bear’s album Young Prayer (2004) and Animal Collective's Sung Tungs, and the vocals are more tight and far less layered, relying instead on a few vocal effects. Buoys is full of sub-bass, water samples, bass, swirling electronics and synthesizers, tucked in nicely and neatly just beneath the surface, floating.

Buoys is a retrospective of all his previous albums, but filtered through a new perspective. Panda Bear creates a lush, wet world around the intimacy of his voice and acoustic guitar with this album. The refined and soft approach is a welcomed update to his well-loved sound and style.

Panda Bear is currently touring the US through the rest of February before heading over to Europe in April. Check out Songkick to see if he’s playing a show near you.

Listen to Buoys here.

Sparks