It normally takes me about ten listens before I start to really appreciate the depths of a new Panda Bear album, however on his newest effort ‘Tomboy’ the densely layered avant-garde chillwave tracks were an instant joy to my ears and for my money is easily his most accessible release to date.
My favourite song (but not necessarily the best) from the album is “Alsatian Darn”. Camouflaged against the tracks sonic haze the lyrics can be difficult to decipher, but when read closely are a testament to Panda Bear’s ability to vocalise the most complex emotions with deft skill and craft.
This time he tackles the personal doubt that comes when you want to make changes to your life, knowing deep down (despite your own self belief) the outcomes of the changes are uncertain. He poses the question of how this change will affect himself and the people he cares for, allowing the question to circle the song without resolution. Instead he encapsulates his dilemma perfectly by repeating:
“Can I make a bad mistake?
Say what it is I want to say to you
The actual resolution isn’t important; it differs depending on the situation and people involved. The question is what counts and knowing that I’m not the only one letting it keep me awake at night makes me feel less lonely.