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Grizzly Bear “Veckatimest” Review

Published in Blog Archive, Culture Bully. Tags: , .

There’s something to be said for following the advice of others… sometimes. Those largely unfamiliar with Grizzly Bear could easily find its latest album achingly dull. Much of Veckatimest sounds as though the band is casually treading through the recording, adding instruments and a quilted padding of sound below each track to magnify their impressiveness. Further inspection uncovers the lackluster lyrics that lay below much of the record’s layered sound. But those layered sounds are some of the most luscious to blossom from a sea of releases that has already propelled 2009 to being one of the best, musically, of the decade. True, the band is unable to match the craftsmanship of the lyrics to the majestic sounds that embrace them, but that’s one of the album’s most alluring characteristics. “Southern Points” takes “Never say it’s the last word/It’s not the last word/I never find any other/I could ever” and twists the words into a heart-pounding conclusion. And the harmonies which the band filters its vocals through are immaculate, as evidenced by the transformation of the chorus of “Two Weeks” from a bunch of lifeless lyrics into a rapturous eruption of sound. But in all fairness, both sides make equally valid claims. Veckatimest is musically blissful and isn’t easily assessed based on a single listen. At times it’s a bit weary, and as background music it fails at explicitly attracting a listener’s attention. But when you take the time to follow each song, tracing its motions to conclusion, any attempt at calling the album dull becomes moot. I’m glad I took the advice of my friends, some of which have equated it to the second-coming, some of which have called it the musical equivalent to dry toast. I just think it sounds really, really good.