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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Work of hypnotic beauty.., 2 Feb. 2010
This review is from: Horn of Plenty (Audio CD)
Released originally in 2004, this is pre-quartet Grizzly Bear offerings in terms of song writing, being very much a show-case for the originality of Edward Droste (Vocals and guitar), before the making of Yellow House (2006) and Veckatimest (2009). Could one expect to find Grizzly bear in its nascent form..?

Instead of a home project though, there are many of the trade-mark artful touches of Grizzly, but much more stripped-down and acoustically bare. The music captures a sensitivity and reflectiveness you don't quite get on later albums; it has a gentle lyrical quality that playfully conjures up ethereal soundscapes, without being overly forlorn, and rarely raises above the intimate. Each track almost effortlessly segues into the next, as for instance 'Disappearing Act' which merges unexpectedly into 'Fix It', making the sound experience more of a mesmerising whole.

At the same time one wonders if Ed Droste bathed in the heavenly waters of Galaxie 500 waters, as in the track 'Deep Sea Diver', or even the dream pop of AR Kane? Being the first album it is perhaps more natural that it should reveal its formative influences more candidly, though hardly in an obvious way. There is still plenty of genius to decipher!

Definitely one to chill-out to and leave playing over and over again in your sound system, especially on a lazy Sunday afternoon..
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a song for you, 15 July 2007
EA Solinas "ea_solinas" (MD USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Horn Of Plenty (Audio CD)
"Horn of Plenty" is an odd debut album for a band, since it was created before the band proper existed.

Instead, the first Grizzly Bear album is largely the efforts of Ed Droste, and he spreads himself over several genres -- freakfolk, pop, psychedelica and post-rock, layered together into gentle, hypnotic melodies. It's like sitting through a fuzzy, colourful dream and waking just in time for the remixes.

It opens with strange animal noises, and a reverberent hum... and a gentle guitar under a thin layer of murmuring keyboard. It sounds like someone doped Grandaddy. "I'm a deep sea diver with my fins/and underneath your current I do swim," Droste murmurs distantly. "I'm a deep sea diver losing air/and around here I'm sad swimming/you don't care..."

Things get slightly more upbeat in the gentle tripfolk of "Don't Ask" ("I fell into your arms that night/Don't ask"), before trickling into a series of fuzzy, gentle songs: exotic scratchy electropop, fluting indie-rock, ghostly ballads, lo-fi tunes that sound like they were recorded over a walkie-talkie, and shifting epics of shimmering freakfolk. It all finishes up with "This Song," a gentle guitar pop melody that may have a beat, but is as drowsy as a lullaby.

And this release has a second disc of remixed songs, which gives the mellow songs new twists -- jangling strings, a psychedelic reworking, funky dance beats, gentle electronic waves, maracas, grimy rock edges, carnival rock, hard techno, and what sounds like radio static. And these are all done by some brilliant artists -- Final Fantasy, Dntel, Ariel Pink, Efterklang, the Castanets, Alpha, Solex and Safety Scissors.

Grizzly Bear doesn't sound anything like its name would imply -- no rough edges, no rock, no wildness. Just very soothing, mellow fuzz-folk and gently lo-fi indie-postrock, which sounds like a worn-out, half-asleep freakfolker slowly drifting out to sea, in a mist of dreams. Yes, it's that endearing and pretty, but without an ounce of pretension.

Musically, it's layered like the Grand Canyon. At the core, it's made up of gentle guitar riffs and wandering acoustic melodies, but then Droste quietly weaves different sounds over it -- a haze of fuzz, ghostly synth, rattling drums, gentle keyboard melodies, some squiggling vinyl and crackling radio sounds, and a sprinkling of bells, tambourines, flutes, birdsong and other little sounds.

Droste does the same thing with his mellow, gentle, sad voice -- in "Showcase" he layers, echoes and harmonizes with himself, until it sounds like a chorus of Drostes are melting into the powerful melody. Lyrics are almost superfluous, but Droste spins a series of bittersweet songs about wishing that you hadn't lost someone ("My chest hurts a lot tonight/Maybe you can fix that... And when I walk on by, I see you waving...").

Grizzly Bear's debut album is a fuzzy, mournful little gem, and the bonus disc of remixes is pretty good too. Bittersweet, dreamlike and thoroughly enchanting.
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Horn Of Plenty
Horn Of Plenty by Grizzly Bear (Audio CD - 2006)
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