Building site clatter, chasing cars, space-growls, and forced crowd claps – sounding more like regimented feet hitting floors in shattering symmetry than time keeping; it’s not what should be beautiful. It’s not what should be anything, in truth, except for a lacing of spiked vocal melody, so absorbing (listen out for that final ‘er’ in “remember” that’s delivered with impediment beauty) and promising in its idealist flirtation, and it’s that exact rise of melody and the sparkling plateau it breathes upon that has us reaching for Brian Wilson again and again, which is altogether unfair when Panda Bear presents it against such a polarising backdrop of melodic oppression.
Against this controlled and aligned fright is a singer proposing a revolt. The revolt against the self and all our failings, “Coolness is having courage, courage to do what’s right.” In the face of what may be deemed wrong, have some courage. It’s not the soundtrack to the bravery and voices gaining volume in sections of our lands today, but it is a fraction of the point. It’s a hopeful step, the courage to deafen insecurities, to breed realisations. And as an opening note to us all, Bear’s comfortable in search of the baby steps: “Try to tell me how to do it, only because I’m new to it.” [Paw tracks.]