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Animal Collective members take divergent paths for solo work 

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Neither Panda Bear nor Avey Tare of the NYC experimental band Animal Collective are neophytes in solo efforts, but their new albums show distinct directions in which the two are headed. Panda Bear (Noah Lennox) has both a longer pedigree and a more familiar voice, so it’s no surprise that Buoys (Domino) is a comfortable extension of the Animal Collective sound. Unfortunately, the songs are not as structured as in his earlier solo efforts, and his heavier use of Auto-Tune means that Panda Bear’s latest is more pleasant than it is memorable.

Avey Tare (David Portner) set a higher bar for innovation in 2017’s Eucalyptus, and the new Cows on Hourglass Pond (Domino) combines the best aspects of that hallucinogenic sound with the sober concrete ponderings of turning 40. The improvisational music is toned down slightly from the last outing, but the lyrics to tracks like “Nostalgia in Lemonade” give the album substance. It’s easy to suggest that Tare/Portner offers listeners a nutritious main course, while Panda Bear whips up a fluffy appetizer, though both musicians opt for a floating, ethereal sound in an era where stark and direct statements are often preferred.

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