Panda Bear - Buoys
Critic Score
Based on 20 reviews
2019 Ratings: #547 / 632
User Score
Based on 332 ratings
2019 Ratings: #1103
February 8, 2019 / Release Date
LP / Format
Domino / Label
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Loud and Quiet

‘Buoys’ is at times a Spaghetti Western, at others an intergalactic synth battle, and then it sounds like someone’s singing a Scott Walker song through a swanee whistle.


Buoys requires repeat listens to appreciate fully, but those willing to dive deep enough will surely be rewarded.

Slant Magazine

Lennox still fuses surf-pop with discordant sonic surrealism, but he’s also added hip-hop production to his repertoire, arriving at a sound that’s at once disarmingly offbeat and decidedly of the moment.


Old, but new at the same time, the seemingly limited palette of ‘Buoys’ is single minded and direct. A stunning, if hushed, indirect hit.


Noah Lennox finds solace in solitude on his sixth solo album as Panda Bear, stripping the instrumentation down to just a handful of sounds to create an unusually unified listen.


Here, Lennox updates that balance struck between squelchy abstraction and clarity, which is - in the main - an immersive experience.

Under The Radar

A fruitful addition to Lennox's one-of-a-kind audial metamorphism.


The relatively empty arrangements take a few listens to latch on, but their openness showcases Lennox's gifts for honest, fearless songwriting.

Spectrum Culture

Buoys sublimates this influence as if dissolving it in the album’s watery texture, threading each composition with a subtle application of modern production tics.

Drowned in Sound

That this set of songs with a gentle, personal musical touch and therapeutic lyrical themes should be titled Buoys can be no accident; these are actually little nuggets of music that could offer solace to somebody who feels that they are sinking.

Consequence of Sound

As an experiment into how to pare down the layers and revise the way he writes songs, Buoys is an impressive feat.

Northern Transmissions

With a few gems and a lot of redundant writing however, this will definitely be a Panda Bear album just for the fans.

Resident Advisor

The Animal Collective cofounder strips back his sound, but loses something in the process.


Thrown together in a swimming pool of ideas, it all works. Adjusting to ever-changing conditions, it appears this Panda may just thrive in his new habitat.

The Guardian

Buoys is anchored by form but ultimately that is what holds it back. After all, they are also allowed to drift …

The Needle Drop
Panda Bear’s latest solo outing sees his psychedelic brand of surreal folk submerged under an ocean of cascading delays and nautical vibes.

This is a nine-song collection of modest ambition, but ‘Buoys’ undoubtedly succeeds on its own terms, that consistently understated sonic template interspersed with surprising moments ... that makes it a rewarding repeat listen.

Pretty Much Amazing

This, nor the occasional flashes of beauty throughout the album, are enough to recommend Buoys’ unremarkable lonely beach music.

Crack Magazine

While this reinvention is intriguing, the record’s execution is spottier.

The 405

No track here could be accused of attempting to engage with either the audience or work with recent exciting stylistic developments in alternative music. Dominated by a supposedly futuristic sub-bass sound and plunged into an aquatic aesthetic, the tracks on Buoys don’t just sound near-identical but can be plainly impossible to distinguish between.

I am absolutely astounded by how boring this release is

Nothing new or special here at all

An absolute fucking snoozefest
I listened to this an hour ago and already don't have a clue as to what it sounded like
Best album of 2019 so far.
Panda Bear's solo career has an oddly specific set of expectations from me - expectations one-of-a-kind from other artists. This all has to do with his 2007 album, Person Pitch.
Person Pitch instilled a love for a specifically slow, open and distant sound only Panda Bear could seem to make, and that aesthetic has been applied and slightly tweaked on each of his releases since.
Unlike Person Pitch, Tomboy and Panda Bear vs. the Grim Reaper felt a lot drier and flatter - the distant aesthetic ... read more
additional thoughts: I've spent the last month with this album and its really grown on me a lot. I LOVE the middle third especially, but I'm at a point where I can enjoy the entire album from start to finish. Why is panda talking about slapping a jelly ass and cheeky slaps LOL! The man still loves his repetitions, but he is more restrained in that sense which I think is a good thing.

I Know I Don't Know/Master/Buoys all day

This album sounds amazing on some quality ... read more
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Added on: November 8, 2018