- Crosswords is the second EP to stem from Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper, an album drenched in soupy electronics and Noah Lennox's sonorous voice. It also explored themes of loss and losing oneself, daubed in the Animal Collective member's familiar bright sonic hues. Crosswords mostly puts those self-reflective missives to one side, and instead stands simply as a playful set of songs that, "Crosswords" apart, didn't make the album.
Crosswords is mostly cheery, but the trade-off is the absence of the rueful timbres that, on Grim Reaper songs like "Tropic Of Cancer" and "Come To Your Senses," play to Lennox's strengths. Of the EP's three new songs, "Jabberwocky" holds attention more than sleepy marijuana ode "Cosplay," or the squidgy, almost-house of "No Mans Land." Its drums lumber forward with a glassy-eyed swagger, and the chords propping it up sound tipsy themselves. Vocals carry the looping groove home, sometimes stretching vowels into a little howl of sympathy. "The Preakness," which first surfaced on a boxset of 2012's Tomboy, has a three-chord sequence that spins like a propellor—Lennox sings in kind, lifting his rich tone until it soars over the sprinting drums. It runs "Crosswords" close as the standout.
01. Crosswords (EP Mix)
02. No Mans Land
04. The Preakness