• Record Label: Domino
  • Release Date: Jan 13, 2015
Metascore
82

Universal acclaim - based on 34 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
Buy On
  1. Jan 27, 2015
    90
    Striking a balance between hypnotic pop and cloudy soul-searching, the album delivers all the ends of the spectrum Lennox has spent years perfecting, giving fully realized and refreshingly jubilant examples of a type of pop music so distinctive to its creator, he ends up in a class by himself.
  2. Jan 9, 2015
    90
    By immersing himself even deeper into the world of dub music and its equally minimalist and maximalist tones and tropes, Grim Reaper sounds stronger than anything he's accomplished so far.
  3. Jan 12, 2015
    87
    It’s a playful, fantastical response to some serious life changes.
  4. Magnet
    Feb 20, 2015
    85
    Grim Reaper shows that Lennox has bigger things on his mind than mere crowd-pleasing. [No. 117, p.59]
  5. Jan 13, 2015
    85
    To say Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper is a textural album is probably stating the obvious, but it very much is, in a way where the individual tracks feel simultaneously adventurous and tamed.
  6. Jan 7, 2015
    85
    Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper is not the private masterpiece that Person Pitch turned out to be, but it might be the final triumphant salute to an unforgettable chapter in Lennox's career.
  7. Jan 6, 2015
    85
    While it's nice to have the controlled chaos of an Animal Collective album from time to time, it's nice to get some simply moving music as well. [Nov/Dec 2014, p.66]
  8. Jan 14, 2015
    84
    It's a testament to Lennox's dexterity that these brief detours into soft introspection only enhance the wondrous breadth and vision of Panda Bear Versus The Grim Reaper.
  9. 83
    It’s frequently arrestingly beautiful (“Selfish Gene”) or driven nearly wild with joy (raucous party-starter “Mr Noah”), but always with a visceral, off-kilter kick where Panda Bear’s last pair of full-lengths opted for heavenly effervescence or communal transcendence.
  10. The Wire
    Mar 4, 2015
    80
    Lennox is an innovator and a stylist, impossible to accurately imitate or easily dismiss. [Feb 2015, p.50]
  11. Jan 29, 2015
    80
    Panda Bear’s fourth full-length is a mature album of peace and reckoning, one that weaves ghostly textures, plumbs watery depths, but ultimately happens on something comforting and tranquil.
  12. Jan 15, 2015
    80
    Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper is often blissful electronica for both the heart and the brain.
  13. Jan 13, 2015
    80
    The stylistic transition won’t hit everyone the same way, and the album is bound to become his most divisive record to date, but it’s good to hear that an artist with the track record and long-standing popularity of Panda Bear is still willing to take chances and put the effort in to make them work.
  14. Jan 13, 2015
    80
    Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper, Lennox's fifth studio LP, is his most direct and accessible statement yet.
  15. Jan 13, 2015
    80
    This is a more colourful record than its predecessor, but it’s troubled, too.... Meanwhile, aficionados of pure sonic treats are well served. [Feb 2015, p.89]
  16. Jan 12, 2015
    80
    Grim Reaper is an unedited adventure of blossoming soundscapes, vision-blurring, dissonant melodies, and cheerful robot dance numbers like "Principe Real." It hardly hits the same note twice.
  17. Jan 12, 2015
    80
    Lennox still sounds unmistakably like his peaceable bear self, despite having acquired some new carnivorous companions whose firepower, critically, he doesn’t need.
  18. Jan 9, 2015
    80
    Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper is dense, slippery, wily, and flung together effortlessly like a meticulously rehearsed sleight of hand. Boy, is it worth the legwork.
  19. 80
    Playful yet profound, baffling but very beautiful, sticking with Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper until it reveals its full dizzying array of riches most certainly is [worthwhile].
  20. Jan 8, 2015
    80
    There’s nothing radically new here, which means it doesn’t have the same jolting appeal as Person Pitch. But rather than repeat himself, Lennox has successfully honed his sound.
  21. Q Magazine
    Jan 7, 2015
    80
    At times, it's a touch muted, a little grey-out, but if this is Lennox staring down mortality, he comes out swinging. [Feb 2015, p.113]
  22. Jan 7, 2015
    80
    On first listen, the album as a whole seems repetitious--there aren't any 12-minute odysseys like on breakout album Person Pitch--but its diversity reveals itself with multiple listens.
  23. Jan 7, 2015
    80
    It’s still as gloriously messy, squelchy and disorientating as ever.
  24. Jan 7, 2015
    80
    One of the songwriter’s most overtly gorgeous works, it finds Panda Bear easing into new ground while maintaining his near effortless melodic touch.
  25. Uncut
    Jan 6, 2015
    80
    He's the kind of singer whose voice you instinctively trust. It's a resource that brings continuity to a fifth album touching on greed, death and dogs. [Feb 2015, p.72]
  26. 75
    Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper rides high on his proven strengths, but doesn’t exactly explore new territory.
  27. Jan 14, 2015
    70
    Lennox lost his father to brain cancer in 2002 and the experience has floated through his music ever since, but never has his songwriting been so tragically pointed. There's no ambiguity here, only the gaping emptiness that the absence of a parent leaves behind.
  28. Jan 12, 2015
    70
    In these songs, Panda Bear has lifted his voice above the instrumental swirl, just enough to reveal some worries about family, friends, purpose and mortality, and to move his music ever so slightly toward pop.
  29. Jan 12, 2015
    70
    Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper can be a particularly infuriating listen since it wanders between moments of greatness and utter tedium.
  30. Jan 9, 2015
    70
    It may not quite equal Person Pitch or Tomboy, but in its own way could prove to be even more important for Noah Lennox.
  31. Jan 7, 2015
    70
    Grim Reaper is consistently engaging, often catchy, and sometimes disarmingly pretty.
  32. Alternative Press
    Jan 6, 2015
    70
    Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper arrives as less of a sonic surprise, but his knack for buoyant hooks remains on electronic psychedelia's forefront. [Feb 2015, p.92]
  33. Jan 13, 2015
    67
    Panda Bear Meets The Grim Reaper doesn’t push boundaries so much as it delineates the contours of Lennox’s comfort zone.
  34. Jan 14, 2015
    60
    As it stands, the album sounds like Panda Bear at the height of his unchecked, uncompromised (and, therefore, at times uninventive) powers.
User Score
8.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 103 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 86 out of 103
  2. Negative: 7 out of 103
  1. Jan 13, 2015
    9
    Undeniably the best Animal Collective-related album since Merriweather Post Pavilion. Lennox still retains his classic style of sweeping,Undeniably the best Animal Collective-related album since Merriweather Post Pavilion. Lennox still retains his classic style of sweeping, angelic melodies, but here, the sound is much more compact, almost every track feeling like a battle between the instrumentals and vocals to drown each other out. The beats here are irresistibly trippy; "Come to Your Sense" and "Crosswords" feature grooves that sound like they were pulled from a 2Pac album, and Lennox actually cited a number of old-school hip-hop artists as inspirations for the new album.

    My only complaints regarding the album are that, as good a vocalist as Lennox is, sometimes his voice gets lost in all the animal noises and swirling electronics, and the album is certainly not without its moments of filler. Tracks like "Davy Jones' Locker" and "Shadow of the Colossus," as short as they are, are tracks the album would be just as strong without.

    Luckily, the trippy beats, sophisticated electronics, and Lennox's keen sense of melody easily overshadow any weaknesses here.
    Full Review »
  2. Jan 20, 2015
    2
    I can appreciate the energy that was put into this music, but it's too busy, and I hate it when I can't understand at least a little of whatI can appreciate the energy that was put into this music, but it's too busy, and I hate it when I can't understand at least a little of what the frontman is singing. It's like the sound musicians make who can't write real songs... Full Review »
  3. Feb 11, 2015
    5
    I can appreciate how intricately layered the music is, but the melodies are very repetitive and don't really go anywhere on this album I enjoyI can appreciate how intricately layered the music is, but the melodies are very repetitive and don't really go anywhere on this album I enjoy songs like Mr. Noah and Tropic of Cancer but most songs are very dull. I also wish Panda Bear had mixed his vocals higher because he sounds like a background singer on his own song. Full Review »