Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Review: Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Rating: 8.3
Released: May 26, 2009

Bringin' pretty back.

That could be the second title for Brooklyn four-piece Grizzly Bear's latest, and greatest, album to date.

The lovely Veckatimest is the band's most adventurous, and oddly enough, most accessible LP in its catalog.

It's no surprise that the record finds Grizzly frontman Daniel Rossen sometimes eschewing the sparse arrangements of past work for the wrought pop ambition of last year's gem In Ear Park, a riveting listen from Rossen side project Department of Eagles.

With some bands, you ask for a redefinition of sound to prove growth. Not the case here.

Veckatimest is largely a refining of Grizzly Bear's spooky, folk aesthetic. Where previous albums were sleepy and at once forgettable, Veckatimest is anything but.

The woozy dreamscapes are still here, but the melodies stick like fly paper and the Pet Sounds horns and symphonics make it sound like a classic.

Case in point: The Bear has never recorded a pop song as memorable as "Two Weeks," or as blissful as "Cheerleader."

Rossen's delicate voice and airy harmonies still sound like the backdrop for "Wizard of Oz," and two seconds of any Grizzly song remains enough to identify the protagonists.

"While You Wait For The Others" is a triumph, employing smoky guitars and breathy vocal acrobatics like seasoned veterans. It's enough to make you forget these babyfaced folkers are twenty-somethings.

"They'll try, they all try/to keep us apart," Rossen laments on "I Live With You," a psychedelic, lonesome call for an estranged lover.

With tunes like these, Grizzly Bear isn't likely to remain lonely too long.

Heartily recommended, Veckatimest is one of the first great albums this year.

- SoR

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