Daily Archives: May 27, 2009

Review: Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest”

Well, music blogs and review sites were set on fire yesterday.

No, I didn’t do it.

Grizzly Bear did it.

The release of their third proper LP, Veckatimest, finally came upon us. We were teased with a barely audible leak of the album in mid-March, which set up promise for what sounded like a fantastic record. Well, send that crap to your recycling bin (don’t act like you didn’t “get it off a friend” aka download it yourself!) You’ll need to erase anything you decided about the album, and listen to it properly. Because Grizzly Bear just put themselves in the running for Album of the Year, along with Animal Collective and Dan Deacon.

Those familiar with Grizzly Bear will find the band evolving from where their 2006 album, Yellow House, left off. For all the new Grizzly Bear listeners out there: Welcome! You’ve picked a great album to start on! Veckatimest (yeah, I don’t know how to properly pronounce it either) is Grizzly Bear’s most upbeat album to date. But, fans of the band’s more melancholic atmosphere shouldn’t be scared off at the sound of that. Grizzly Bear have the wonderful ability to create albums that feel like a trip through the woods. A vision quest of meticulously-crafted “chamber pop.” Well, Veckatimest still takes you on that journey, but now it occasionally has some sunny spots along the way!

These “sunny spots” (the blissful “Two Weeks,” “Cheerleader,” “While You Wait For The Others”) are scattered throughout the album with expert pacing. Like I said, Grizzly Bear are very meticulous when it comes to crafting their songs. And yes, I mean song-crafting, not just song-writing. Every song on Veckatimest is filled with acute instrumentation, orchestrated swells and wonderfully brooding atmosphere. This really becomes obvious when the album serves up the one-two punch that is “All We Ask” and “Fine For Now.”

Veckatimest truly is a great record. It’s atmosphere is perfectly sustained throughout. And the musical highs and lows are pulled off with ease. My only issue with the album lies within the second-to-last track “I Live With You.” Not to say that it is a bad song, not by a long shot. I just feel like it’s in the wrong place. My first listen, I had no issue with it, but having gone through record several times, I really feel like it belongs elsewhere. As it stands, it wedged in between the album’s final high (“While You Wait For The Others”) and it’s most beautiful low (“Foreground”). I really feel like putting these two side by side would render the listener utterly be-smitten. So now, my mind anxiously wanders during “I Live With You,” awaiting the album’s angelic close.

So, if you have yet to traverse through Veckatimest, I’m more than happy to send you own your way now. If you’re just getting back from it, I’ll ask you to just sit tight for a second. Let me finish typing this up, I’ll grab my headphones and we’ll take that trip together.

Good luck getting “Two Weeks” out of your head this summer….or year….or lifetime.