Grizzly Bear – ‘Veckatimest’

July 1, 2009 § Leave a comment

Published: Music Australia Guide #66, June 2009.

Grizzly Bear

One of the indie world’s ‘it’ bands, Brooklyn quartet Grizzly Bear could conjure a superlative-laced review with a collective sneeze. Luckily, the group have a hell of a lot more up their sleeves with third album Veckatimest. From the smokily layered acoustic shuffle, firework percussion and soaring harmonies of opener Southern Point, this is the sound of band coming of age. Unfolding over 12 superbly rendered, wide-screen pop sketches, it sees Grizzly Bear – vocal duo Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen, bassist Chris Taylor and drummer Christopher Bear – weave a trail of interlocked melody, narcotic analogue atmosphere and flashes of wild, spring-like colour. You won’t hear a more masterfully sweet pop song than Two Weeks; a Spector-like wall of sound underpinned by the propulsive plonk of a piano, tumbling drums and a euphoric swirl of vocal harmonies. The ethereal melodic swoop of Fine for Now, meanwhile, resembles an abraded, expanded take on 70s trio America. In many ways, Veckatimest is a child of yesteryear. The immediate melodies recall the Beatles; the chamber-like dynamics, puzzle-piece vocal harmonies and chord structures echo of a Pet Sounds era Brian Wilson. But Grizzly Bear are very much a product of their time. Their narcotic atmospheres (see All We Ask), abrasive textures and unhinged, lashes of psychedelic noise (While you Wait…) show a band that, for all their resemblances to the past, have a penchant for deconstructing and re-imagining their direct references. It is what makes Veckatimest so thrilling, so challenging and so loftily good.

Dan Rule


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