Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

To say that the overwhelming critical praise for Grizzly Bear’s 2006 sophomore effort Yellow House was lost on me would be a gross understatement. I dislike nearly everything about the album - from the muffled singing to the punchless arrangements and beyond. I’ve had the same negative reaction to other “big” indie albums before - Joanna Newsom’s Ys and the entire Sufjan Stevens catalog spring to mind. But with those albums I could at least understand what others were attracted to even if they didn’t move me. On the other hand, I’ve tried listening to Yellow House roughly a dozen times, each with the hope that whatever it was that people adored about it would at some point just click. It still never has. I simply find it to be painstakingly boring, and I have no idea what others are hearing that make them act as if it’s some sort of modern classic.

And yes, I do realize that my feelings for Yellow House are irrelevant in the whole grand scheme of things. My point is to set up a significant contrast - I think Veckatimest is a fucking spectacular achievement. The new Grizzly Bear album is a baroque, elegant set of songs that improves on Yellow House, to these ears, on every conceivable level - from the improved vocals of Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen to the inventive rhythms and harmonies of Chris Taylor and Chris Bear to the inviting songs themselves. It will surely (if it hasn’t already) thrust Grizzly Bear from “band on the verge” to “band at the top”. Like most of you I’ve been listening to the 128 kbps leaked version for a few months now (did you pre-order your vinyl yet?) and cannot wait to hear it in the type of high audio quality an album this endlessly nuanced deserves. Songs like “Two Weeks” and “While You Wait For The Others” find a perfect balance between sweeping indie-pop and ornate art-folk; “Fine For Now”, “Ready, Able”, and “I Live With You” are ambitious, cathartic anthems; and both “Cheerleader” and “Foreground” are hauntingly beautiful ballads. In fact, it’s a nearly unblemished album, with only “Dory” failing to make a strong impression. If you’re one of the 4 or 5 people out there who read music blogs such as this one who has still not listened to Veckatimest do so as soon as you get the chance - it’s a great album from a band that has truly come into their own.

MP3 :: Cheerleader
(from Veckatimest. Buy here)

Stream :: Two Weeks


And the freakin’ creepy video for “Two Weeks”:


1 comment:

Wayne said...

I liked Yellow House quite a lot, but this album is definitely better and a major achievement. Also, I like each a little more after every listen.