Composed and recorded following the death of Panda Bear's father, it is perhaps no surprise that Young Prayer comes off as a musical eulogy. But it is nothing like a wild outpouring of emotion. There is no tearing of hair or gnashing of teeth here. Rather, the short album is a restrained lamentation, a controlled elegiac mediation on the death of a loved one. The grief has settled in to stay, and it is reflected upon from a slight distance now. Panda Bear wordlessly but somberly moans in a falsetto through much of the album, setting a mood of crystalline bereavement. Descending vocal arpeggios echo through hollow halls, while erratic but tunefully strummed guitar and loose, mantra-like piano playing maintain an ethereal fragility. The most upbeat of the nine untitled songs is a hand-clapping, foot-stomping chant-in-the-round that ends the A side. A song that, despite it's relative joyousness compared to the rest of the album, still recalls a funeral march more than a hootenanny. Young Prayer, however, isn't a morbid work. It seems to come from the point of view of acceptance, and can be seen as the sober and mournful flipside to the hyperactively gleeful Sung Tongs.
AllMusic Review by Jason Nickey