The Quietus | Reviews | Panda Bear and Sonic Boom

Alien v Predator, Batman v Superman, David Bowie v Mick Jagger. There is a prolonged background of celebrity match-ups which read through as heavenly on paper only to demonstrate hellish in execution (when a trench-coated Bowie leaps into frame in slow movement in the ‘Dancing In The Street’ video clip, twenty years of trustworthiness evaporate in 20 nanoseconds). But disappointment is saved at bay throughout Reset, a rapid and furry-ious alliance in between two enduring luminaries of indie psychedelia: Animal Collective’s Noah Lennox (Panda Bear) and former Spacemen 3 driving power Pete Kember (Sonic Growth).

Reset is a electricity-pop concept album as nicely as a assembly of kindred spirits and fellow ex-pats (the two are prolonged-expression citizens of Portugal). It is designed all-around loops culled from the intros to rock ’n roll 45s from the late 1950s and early 1960s. Eddie Cochran’s ‘Three Measures To Heaven’ and The Everly Brothers ‘Love Of My Life’ are among the tunes lovingly purloined. Hammered into unusual new styles, these wonky samples serve as launch pads for Lennox’s Eternal Gobstopper pop and Kember’s maximalist generation.

It is a ton. Harmonies are poured atop melodies atop lyrics that read like the Beach front Boys ‘Wouldn’t It Be Nice’ fed into 1 of individuals algorithmic AI art turbines (“Everyday, a small bit for a longer period / Every way, a little bit stronger,” chirrups Lennox on ‘Everyday’). From time to time it is maybe much too significantly. Had been doo-wop psych-pop opener ‘Gettin’ To The Point’ any much more joyous, it would threat structural hurt to the listener’s pleasures receptors.

Step by step, though, this vibrant and breezy workforce-up is unveiled to have a chillier aspect. By the time we get to the sixth observe, ‘Whirlpool’, Lennox’s effervescence has taken on a sinister hue. He doesn’t sound happy so substantially as maniacal (“Whirlpool, pull me / further than down”). Kember, in the meantime, is a wry existence all over. On mid-tempo times these types of as the Troggs-sampling ‘Go On’, his baritone doesn’t compliment Lennox so significantly as press again from the demonic cheeriness.

This is not the first occasion the two have labored alongside one another. Kember created Lennox’s solo records Tomboy (2011) and Panda Bear Satisfies The Grim Reaper (2015) when Lennox guested on Kember’s 2020 history, All Things Being Equal.

Their new job finds the duo sharing equivalent billing – and with superior explanation. Reset is flush with Animal Collective’s blitzing jauntiness. But Kember’s droller sensibility serves as a vital counterpoint. He is a spike of vinegar drizzled into a bottomless fountain of soda pop. And if arguably way too just one-notice to represent a stone-cold triumph, the album serves as a charming side-bar to two stellar professions. It is a collaboration that soars without having at any time fairly having so shut to the sunlight that its wings start out to soften.

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