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Grizzly's masterful third album
on 4 June 2012
Grizzly Bear are set to release their fourth studio album later this year and even in this era where new music is constantly in circulation (quite often before it's actual release date) i'd be suprised if it's not being eagerly awaited by even the most highly saturated of music listeners. The reason i assert this is almost entirely based on the glowing reviews this album received upon it's 2009 release, attracting a mass of new fans and turning the band into one of indie rocks hottest properties. So three years on, having personally been re-introduced to Grizzly Bear by listening to Daniel Roseens excellent Silent Hour/Golden mile EP a couple of months ago, i thought i'd give my thoughts on this beaut of an album.
"Southern Point" opens the record with an intriguiging flutter, it rises with a cascade of instrumentation that's played with equals parts intensity and poise. "Two Weeks" the albums most successful single follows and even with it's endless appearance on TV and Radio it's not lost an iota of magic. I'm not one for hyperbole but i think it's one of greatest pop songs of the century! the simplicity of the staccato piano chords, the syncopated drumming and the stunning singing of Ed Droste with the sumptuous vocal harmonies (featuring Victoria Legrand of Beach House) makes the song feel utterly transcendent.
Nico Muhly the clasical protege makes a welcome addition here too, providing some delightful choral arrangements to "Cheerleader" and "Foreground" two of the songs that captured peoples attention when the album unfotunately leaked prior to it's release date. "Cheerleader" is a seductive wonder and is one of the most accesible tracks here too, even if it still features the wide open spaces the rest of the songs have on this album. "Foreground" is awe inspiringly gorgeous, showing an obvious Radiohead influence with it's sombre melody, which isn't suprising considering they opened for them around the making of this album in 2008.
"Fine For Now", "While You Wait For The Others" and "I Live With You" show the band at their most visceral. Each have powerfully cathartic moments, whether it's the post rock hurricane of guitars in "Fine For Now" or the completely unexpected synthesizer explosions in "I Live with you" or how about the sheer stomping force of the vocal harmonies of "WYWFTO". They provide the album with real bite and counter balance the more elegantly subtle yet somewhat meandering songs like "Hold Still" and "Ready, Able" the latter sounding almost disturbingly carnivalesque.
I wouldn't expect listeners to fall in love with this album on first listen it's layered, nuanced, arrangements don't immediately jump out at you but once they ingratiate themselves into your mind they're unlikely to ever leave their again. Atleast it's been that way for me anyway I love this record and i can't wait to hear what they come up with for the next album thats hopefully just around the corner from being released. If it's able to continue the brilliance of what began on "Yellow House" and matured on "Veckatimest" it's easily going to be frontrunner for best of the year.