Jun 15, 2009

Veckatimest-Grizzly Bear

Gallons of ink have been spent on this subject, but here are a few more scribbles. For this is worth it. This is good. This is actually great. "Veckatimest". Believe the hype. Believe that you are unlikely to hear a better album in 2009. Well, a non-Canadian one anyway. This is music in full bloom. With surety and deliberation Grizzly Bear have conjured music that glows. That is radiant. That is destined to become a modern day classic.

This album paints all the corners. That is something I am sure about. For the corners are important and vital. If great music has broad and bold brushstrokes, it also reaches into the recesses, the cornices. The corners. Where subtle surprises await and delight. Where moments of beauty become apparent upon every listen. It takes a certain type of dedication and craftsmanship to arrive at this point. A certain type of talent too. A talent to create delicate and persuasive sounds that make sparks inside your brain and fireflies in your heart. What began as Ed Droste's project has bloomed into a band at the peak of their powers. With two robust songwriters and four band members who all play a vital part, this band are creating music that is impossible to resist and almost compulsory to admire. With nary a weak track, "Dory" perhaps the only slight one, "Veckatimest" flows with great certainty from start to finish. The closing three songs are sure to knock you out.

But we start with "Southern Point", a softly, softly opener that lulls you in. Sparse drumming and tender guitars are an invite to the world of Grizzly Bear. That world becomes the magnificence that is "Two Weeks", a song of infinite hummability. Staccato piano and darting guitar go perfectly here with floating harmonies. So many highlights after this too. The swelling tide of "All We Ask" (great drumming) or the delicate and tender "Fine For Now" are pretty great to digest, before we hit the pulsating "Ready, Able", which comes complete with shimmering sections. As said though, the closing three songs are a knockout. "While You Wait For The Others" is a powerhouse, a heart stopper, a buzz storm. The moment at 3.23 where the harmonies collide and collapse is surely one of the signature moments in recent musical history. "I Live With You" is a stalking beast, with stomping guitars and sweet and piercing vocals. "Foreground" is then a perfect closer, perhaps the most tender and sensuous song that the band have written. And that band is in overdrive. Daniel Rossen and Ed Droste have written exquisite songs. Their plaintive vocals express a longing that rest comfortably with the listener. Although lyrically the songs are fairly straight forward, it is the atmosphere and the sounds created that complete the magic. Chris Taylor provides a bedrock of interesting instrumentation, whilst Chris Bear's drumming is something to behold. This is music to invest yourself in, to embrace and ultimately to celebrate.

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