Audio Mixer: Sonic Boom.
Swiftly following Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, Noah Lennox's most direct, straightforward collection of songs yet, the Crosswords EP continues in much the same direction, with his reverb-doused Mike Love-ly vocals pleasantly floating over bubbly, lightly funky electronic rhythms. The EP's title track is barely altered from its LP version, replacing some of the more growling synth textures with trippier ones. More exciting are the kicking beats and smeared, messy noises of "No Mans Land," as well as the lush, swooping synths of "Jabberwocky." Closing track "Cosplay" deviates from the rest of the songs, slowing the tempo down to a trudge and repeating the lyrics "marijuana makes my day" over slightly creepy whistling synth sounds. The tune seems like it should be the most relaxed one of the bunch, but somehow there's a bit of a dark, unsettling tinge to it. Crosswords is essentially outtakes from PBVSGR (with one cut left over from Tomboy), and while it's clearly more of the same, it's an enjoyable, compact dose of chilled, effervescent electro-psych-pop, and it functions as a handy reminder of how far Lennox has come as a songwriter. ~ Paul Simpson