Artist: Panda Bear (Animal Collective)
Title: Take Pills
Format: 7" single
Label: Paw Tracks
Catalogue Number: PAW17
Year of Release: 2007
Ltd Edition of 1000
A Take Pills
B Bonfire Of The Vanities
Just when I thought I was getting going with the Letter B, along comes a new Animal Collective single (Peacebone) and album (Strawberry Jam). And so I thought, I'm going to get those anyway - I'll have to review them when they arrive, cos them's the rules - I might as well get that recent Panda Bear 7" and do it at the same time.
Lifted from the also-recommended Person Pitch album, Take Pills is not an instruction, as you might expect from a member of a band who are surely no stranger to mind-altering substances. It's not a command though, no. It's message is much more along the lines of Spiritualized's Medication, or The Verve's The Drugs Don't Work, albeit a little softer:
i don't want for us to
not that its bad
i don't want for us to take pills
because we're stronger
and we don't need them
And this message is couched in a song of glittering loveliness: from the looped atmospherics and found sounds at the start; the slow guitar, bass and tambourine loops that come in; Panda's Brian Wilson-esque multi-layered vocals drawing a picture of his mother left alone in the house, children now grown and gone, and her saying, "things get better/just wait/and you'll see..."; and then tempo picks up, layered strumming acoustics and percussion still keeping a relaxed feel, the song delivers its message, and finishes on what sounds like a subway train departing. It's really rather fine.
Bonfire of the Vanities, recorded live, is a collage of samples layered over a slow looped piano riff, some light drum-machine action, various wailing and clicking noises from Panda, and some lines of dialogue that I can only assume are lifted from the film of the same name. It's a good B-side, but from the cover I was expecting some bagpipes.