New | January 16, 2019
Panda Bear’s new track “Token” is delightfully disorienting (11)

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