Panda Bear and Sonic Boom
Reset


3.5
great

Review

by Sowing STAFF
August 15th, 2022 | 16 replies


Release Date: 08/12/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Livin', but you just want more

While Noah Lennox (Animal Collective's Panda Bear) and Peter Kember (Spacemen 3’s Sonic Boom) have collaborated on their respective solo projects, Reset marks the first time that they've embarked upon a full-length album as co-creators. The record explores 1960s psychedelic pop, and while the results may not be anything new, it still makes for an enjoyable listen that emits the warmth of summer afternoons while serving up a handful of undeniable earworms in the process. If you like electronic/psychedelic music and/or have an appreciation for the Beach Boys, then you've stumbled into the right place.

The album succeeds the most when it aims for breeziness and brevity. We get that right off the bat with "Gettin' to the Point", which features a drawn-out sugary chorus that oozes across the song's entire two and a half minutes, covering it in sticky sweetness. Midsection gems 'Edge of the Edge' and 'In My Body' feature some stylistic nods to Brian Wilson & co. with their harmonized refrains and, on the former, some baritone buh-duh-duh-dum's atop fuzzy synth keys. Most of the songs here offer at least some sense of melodic warmth, but Reset's glowing epicenter is easily 'Livin' in the After' - a rich, flourishing pop song replete with dancing strings and a massive vocal hook. It's the kind of song you could play in the dead of winter and end up instantly transported to the shimmering sands of a remote tropical paradise.

When Reset leans into these vibes, it's an unstoppable force of summery psych-pop; however, it doesn't quite take off the way that it should. It often wanders too far into experimental territory and gets lost there, forgetting where its strengths truly lie. For instance, 'Go On' - despite its oddly alluring chants of "give it to me" - kills most of the momentum garnered by the sprightly, catchy 'Gettin' to the Point' by slowing the pace to a crawl and inundating the atmosphere with clashing/inharmonious aesthetics. Then there's 'Whirlpool', which is essentially five minutes of dead space that somehow isn't lush enough to seem atmospheric or well-arranged enough to be all that intriguing. Elsewhere, 'Danger' seems overlong and vocally atonal, additionally wasting a gorgeous acoustic guitar chord by refusing to vary it at all across the track's nearly six minute runtime. There are certainly happy mediums present, like the subtly memorable 'Everyday' or the bubbling creativity and uptempo pace of 'Everything's Been Leading To This', but the prevailing feeling here is one of an unscratched itch - it's a bit too all-over-the-place to deliver on the promise displayed by its best moments.

Reset, in spite of its flaws, still offers a unique wrinkle in the Animal Collective fabric that's worth exploring. Even if you only come back for the saccharine highs, some of the record's more subtle moments will continue to tug at your ankles like a strong undertow. There's a mystical haze to this that pairs well with the glistening August sun - it's strangely at odds with itself, and most assuredly imperfect, but it's also charming and highly alluring.



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user ratings (30)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sowing
Moderator
August 15th 2022


42172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I probably wouldn't have checked this out if Doof didn't nudge me in this direction, so I appreciate it!



Album is very nice and might grow.

protokute
August 15th 2022


1977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Livin' In The After feels like the best song here for me, the rest is fine but unfortunately not very captivating or interesting

Sowing
Moderator
August 15th 2022


42172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Livin in the After is my favorite too and it's what immediately drew me to this. I also really love Gettin to the Point, Edge of the Edge, and In My Body.

protokute
August 15th 2022


1977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

Yeah, I liked Edge of The Edge quite a bit more after relistening

SomeCallMeTim
August 15th 2022


322 Comments


listening to this now. Panda Bear really likes Brian Wilson

InfernalDeity
August 15th 2022


270 Comments


You've been pretty busy recently. First paragraph is enough to put this on my to listen list. Great write up.

ZackSh33
August 15th 2022


707 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I probably like this more than most because of its 60s throwback vibes. Agreed that "Go On" is a tough pill for where it is in the tracklisting, but I actually really like "Danger" despite it's long running time. "Whirlpool" is definitely the weakest, no doubt. There's definitely room for improvement but this is my favorite album of the summer rn, hoping for more from this project!

Veldin
August 15th 2022


4836 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Think it was from Pitchfork review- compares to early Elephant Six Collective and I feel it. Really enjoyed this

Sowing
Moderator
August 15th 2022


42172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I actually like Go On, I just think they picked a bad spot to put it. In fact, this whole thing could have been improved with better tracklisting IMO. I agree that there's something to this though; despite it not being a perfect album I haven't been able to stop spinning it.

Colton
August 16th 2022


16597 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is pretty enjoyable but also feels like he didn't try as hard as he could have

Sowing
Moderator
August 16th 2022


42172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't know if I could pinpoint a lack of effort here, but I wish that some of the more downtempo and overly experimental tracks would have been utilized on a different LP focused on that kind of style. This has too many Beach Boy-isms to be half Animal Collective b-sides, or maybe that's just my bias for sunny psych-pop showing.

Colton
August 16th 2022


16597 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

the songs are just structured in a very repetitive way, he's mostly just taking 1 or 2 ideas and stretching them out for 4+ mins

SublimeSound
August 16th 2022


91 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Ah, Sowing, you beat me to this one. I liked it a lot, it's been the soundtrack to a summer abroad for me. But it isn't as strong as Panda Bear/AnCo's classic releases.



Great write up.

Sowing
Moderator
August 18th 2022


42172 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. I actually like this better than a lot of AnCo albums, but I'm not a huge fan of everything they do in the first place. Of course, as you said, this doesn't touch their classics.

Colton
August 22nd 2022


16597 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

def better than person pitch

protokute
August 22nd 2022


1977 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

uh..... no?



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