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.
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AllMusic Review by Jason Nickey