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Young Prayer
Panda Bear
Young Prayer
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
 
  •  Track Listings (9) - Disc #1

In the midst of 2002, with much of his attention focused on his work with the Brooklyn-based ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, PANDA BEAR stepped aside to a more intimate space to reflect upon the death of his father. The resulting Youn...  more »

     
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CD Details

All Artists: Panda Bear
Title: Young Prayer
Members Wishing: 4
Total Copies: 0
Label: Paw Tracks
Release Date: 9/28/2004
Genres: Alternative Rock, Special Interest, Pop, Rock
Styles: Experimental Music, Progressive, Progressive Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 677517100228

Synopsis

Album Description
In the midst of 2002, with much of his attention focused on his work with the Brooklyn-based ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, PANDA BEAR stepped aside to a more intimate space to reflect upon the death of his father. The resulting Young Prayer, often coming much closer to classical composition than to the noise/pop experimentations of the ANIMAL COLLECTIVE, is a collection of beautifully personal and introspective songs. Young Prayer, recorded in Panda Bear's childhood home by ANIMAL COLLECTIVE member DEAKIN and further produced by the mysterious ANIMAL COLLECTIVE brothers known as COME WINTER, guarantees a listening experience as interesting as any ANIMAL COLLECTIVE release thus far. A truly soulful album, Young Prayer is both sonically gorgeous and spiritually uplifting.

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CD Reviews

OK, maybe I just don't like this kind of music...
Snuffy Wuffles | America...Planet Earth | 01/30/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)

"Wow...first, let me say, don't get me wrong here. I typically go for offbeat (to employ a broad and vague cliche) gems. I am a great admirer of The Beach Boys and Brian Wilson's musical era (influences which seem to surface in this music), and several different forms of jazz and other experimental music. My point is, I don't shy away from abstraction and adventurousness in music...in fact, I crave it.

So, I'd heard one of Panda Bear's cuts on LA's "Metropolis" music show (on their NPR affiliate), and was impressed. It seemed very Wilson-inspired, and was "airy" yet approachable. So, I figured I'd give Mr. Bear a shot.

The 'cut' must not be off this album. What starts out as a haunting, melodic yet dislocated strumming of a guitar overlayed with transcendent vocals on the first track is a welcome and curious introducion to "Young Prayer."

The mood, however, quickly overstays its welcome. The same trick is pulled for the first few tracks on the disc, rapidly devolving into what sounds like a junior beginner experimenting with "weird" chords on his new guitar before he dubs a thin and meandering falsetto over the recording.

He just overdoes the dreamy, effervescent guitar strumming here. Eventually, to this listener, this effect comes off as pretentious, and, dare I say, gratingly obnoxious. For 15 bucks (unfortunately the CD store I purchased this at had no listening station...this is what I get for taking a chance), Panda Bear loses my sympathy a third of the way into the album, striking me as an indie hipster allowed a little too much time in front of the mike.

The sad thing about Young Prayer is, there really are moments -- moments -- of inspiration interwoven throughout this little opus. Unfortunately, they are gone as quickly as they appeared.

Disappointing also is Panda Bear's seeming complete lack of production sense. I am a musician and songwriter (not that that qualifies me in any special way, but maybe it gives me some perspective), and in my opinion, SOOOOOO MUCH could have been done with these pieces...while RETAINING the etherium he was going for, and without compromising the wandering sensibility of the album.

I wasn't a huge fan of ANIMAL COLLECTIVE's "Feels," either. I was simply annoyed by the misplaced potential in what seemed to me an experiment in listless "chill." Though this type of music is not without its place, you'd hope a musician's "breakout" solo effort would distinguish him somehow.

Not so. All we get is a missed oppurtuniy. It's too bad, too, because somewhere inside Panda Bear is something truly magical. Buy used.

D.D.

"
Beauty, Pain, Loss...all recorded with Grace.
Coheed Lullaby | Louisiana | 11/30/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"We can all relate to the loss of a loved one. Some of us have lost great-grandmothers, cousins twice-removed, or other folks that we didn't know well enough to cause serious mourning. Noah Lennox (a.k.a. Panda Bear) is another story. He lost his father, and as an emotional response to this he recorded "Young Prayer".

Now, you can choose to seperate the record from its overwhelming context, but I choose not to. That's like trying to take the South out of Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury". So listening to "Young Prayer" as a man's catharsis and healing place is absolutely essential to the experience itself.

The record consists of eight tracks, all unnamed, which makes it much easier to absorb if you can sit and listen all the way through (which isn't that hard...it's under 30 minutes long, all total). The arrangements are sparse, with guitar, vocals, and selected other instruments taking up the bulk of the album. The lyrics are mostly unintelligable, but what you do feel is how much his father meant to Noah. This is a record that can be emotionally draining if you're not in the right frame of mind.

Ultimitely, however, it serves as a guidepost along the way to those in mourning. In the liner sleeve, Panda Bear dedicates it simply, beautifully; "This is for my father. Goodbye, dad. I hope you are good where you are." Thanks to Panda Bear, we're all a little better off, too."
The Album Title Says It All
B. A Riesgraf | St. Cloud, Minnesota United States | 07/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Panda Bear's Young Prayer is, to my mind, a perfect album, in that it does exactly what it sets out to do as a musical work. How can I make such an allegation? Although I can't profess to somehow know the precise effect that the artist was aiming for, I would refer skeptics to the album's title, which, in this case, serves as an excellent expression of the music's intent. Let me explain a little more clearly.

Listening to these 9 untitled tracks as one cohesive whole has an overwhelming effect on both my senses and consciousness. The music is simply so powerful and beautiful that I have felt it necessary to listen to it only under ideal circumstances, usually with headphones, so that every sonic detail can be picked up and fully appreciated. I would advise potential listeners to do the same, either waiting for or setting up situations conducive to relaxation and reflection, without interruptions. Then, open yourself up and allow this entrancing elegy to be poured into you.

Each track follows a succession that, when considered, seems to be the one necessary arrangement. For instance, although almost none of the vocals consist of understandable lyrics, one can hear Panda Bear at the end of track 1 proclaiming "...this is how I will speak to you..." and "...this is how you will know me." This acts as a perfect lead-in to the rest of the album as a whole. Most tracks are heavily-strummed, lovely, pensive wanderings, but a few stray from this prototype, most notably 5 and 7. The former is a playful, pounding chant, and the latter is a slow, mournful lament with highly-processed vocals. The emotions evoked by each of these miniatures are intense but very difficult to pinpoint. My personal listening experience tends to make me feel completely immersed in my surroundings, contemplative, melancholic and elated (often at the same time!), and extremely nostalgic. This is where the title comes in: this music is simply bursting at the seams with all the joy and the pain, all the wonder and the fear of childhood. In its unabashed youthfulness, it yearns for the soothing presence of a wise and trusted adult, but in the end, it assumes that roll as well. It is the arc of learning to accept something. I will never let this music go."