New | January 16, 2019
Panda Bear’s new track “Token” is delightfully disorienting


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The video for Panda Bear’s newest single from forthcoming album Buoys is directed by Dean Blunt, an experimental UK producer. It features Blunt confusedly making his way through a carnival, looking forlorn on the bumper cars and getting lost in a mirror maze. Although the scenario ends up appearing somewhat comical, it reflects the dreamy yet disorientating carnival-like feel of the song.

There’s a constant loop of what sounds like a harpsichord packed with reverb rattling behind the vocals, which themselves are layered on top of one another like a light seen through teary eyes, the different beams of light blurred together yet still not whole. Occasionally you hear a slapstick whack-a-mole drum beat or a machine whirring up into action. It feels like you yourself are faltering through the maze side-by-side with Blunt.

When Panda Bear (renowned as part of Animal Collective) closes the song, he sings the lines over and over, ‘Want to / Tell you / That I / Want to / Tell you.’ It’s the closer that the song merits, sounding so near to something warm and endearing yet lost in a puddle of confusion.

Whether a metaphor for the frenetic whirl of modern society or simply an experimental alternative track, “Token” is an enthralling listen from a consistently captivating artist.

By Asher Breuer-Weil