The Cut of His Gibberish: Panda Bear?s lyrics aren?t clear, but his fascination with orch pop is.

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Animal Collective’s charm rests in its inscrutability—the faux childlike wonder of its prankster pop drones, its rattling rhythms, its habitual yelping. Listen long enough and you can have endless debates about where its music comes from—bad summer-camp memories, glam rock, Daffy Duck, mainlining Sweet Tarts—and that chaos is kind of the point. After all, this is a band that once confessed in song, “Yes, this mess is mine.” On his solo albums, Animal Collective member Noah “Panda Bear” Lennox makes controlled messes. His 2004 disc Young Prayer, ostensibly about the death of his father, amounted to an acoustic wake: The songs were redemptive and, in the same way a bruise can be, accidentally beautiful. And unlike the worst death albums (say, Joni Mitchell’s horrid Mingus), it heroically managed to come off as neither self-indulgent nor camp. Three years later, following a marriage, a move to Portugal, and fatherhood, Panda Bear offers another eulogy, this time to early-’60s orch pop. The world doesn’t need another orch-pop record produced by another precocious musician, and I suspect Panda Bear feels the same way. On Person Pitch he avoids easy ventriloquism or 3 a.m. karaoke. Crafted from samplers and cheap electronics, the album sounds like an interpretation, a translation of a translation, Brian Wilson as a second or third language. He gets the DNA of the Wilson tunes right—he evokes the man’s phrasing, the help-me-Rhonda-and-then-he-kissed-me beats, and the reverb applied thick as pancake makeup. Everything else (and there is a lot of everything else) sounds as if it floated through his car window and got recorded from the shotgun seat all runny and warped; how the songs go depends on how the drive went. “Comfy in Nautica” features a glorious chant-and-hand-clap motif that suggests Panda Bear was idling outside an aging Christian church group in Texas. “Take Pills” takes hold with a rusty beat that clicks and then stops, clicks and then stops, until it finally rolls over like surf; as on most of the album, it’s hard to tell exactly what Panda Bear is singing, and eventually the sound of a subway train takes the song away. “Bros” answers the question of what if the fat ’70s Brian Wilson wrote an ice cream truck jingle, then buried the tapes in his sandbox. Unlike with Animal Collective, these fun-­with-audio conceits feel necessary: Panda Bear’s junk-shop samples not only serve his melodies, they also evoke classic orch pop without imitating it. He breaks further from Pet Sounds traditionalism with tracks that crack the 12-minute mark. A suite comprised of the songs “Good Girl” and “Carrots” works both as a song and as a collage: Dozens of jammed-together parts clatter for attention, but they work together so well you don’t notice the duct tape and shoestring. Beneath its frenetic rhythm loop, the track features wordless harmonizing, a drum that falls over angrily, a distant scream, random bursts of distortion, and a trumpet’s fluttery notes. Five minutes in, the song shifts into the rumbling of an old piano, and Panda Bear is back doing Wilson. You think he’s going to crib straight from “Caroline, No,” but he’s not interested in indulging a hipster’s game of spot-the-reference. As he pleads: “There’s something big going on while you’re busy taking notes.”