Due to the joys of peer-to-peer technology, Veckatimest, the latest from Grizzly Bear, has already made its way into many hard drives and hearts. Like other highly anticipated releases from this year, namely Animal Collective’s Merriweather Post Pavilion, and Yeah Yeah Yeah’s It’s Blitz!, these leaks have allowed anxious, obsessive fans such as myself the pleasure of previewing the record before its proper release and figure out whether we’ll shell out the $13.50 at HMV on that special Tuesday. After having Veckatimest on repeat for the better part of 2 Weeks (pun intended), I will be paying top dollar once it drops in May.
I’ve been a big fan of Grizzly Bear since Yellow House was released, and have been drawn to the lush arrangements, beautiful harmonies, and highly emotive atmospherics that characterize the band’s sound. While I loved Yellow House, I often felt that the record’s reverb-heavy sound and dense orchestration often obfuscated the contribution of each of the players. Put simply, it felt more like a studio record, and less like a band record.
On Veckatimset, Grizzly Bear sound much more like a band than on their previous release. Tracks like ‘Cheerleader’ and ‘Ready, Able’ emphasize this. However, Grizzly Bear are able to maintain the psychedelic tones that define their sound, creating a combination of strong musicianship and meticulous recording techniques that makes this record truly incredible. The best example of this is the much buzzed about ‘2 Weeks’, a track which finds Grizzly Bear applying swirling harmonies and lush soundscapes to a sweet sounding pop song that wouldn’t sound out of place on Pet Sounds. While Horn of Plenty demonstrated Grizzly Bear’s potential and Yellow House defined the band’s sound, Veckatimest will likely prove to be the record that ‘breaks’ Grizzly Bear into a wider fan-base. It’s simply the best record Grizzly Bear have yet released.
I often find myself comparing Veckatimest to the Merriweather Post Pavilion, due to the high degree of music-blog love going towards each record, the new pop-focus of each record, and, simply, how incredible each record is. It will be interesting to see how 2009 best-of lists turn out come December, as each record is so impressive. Where Merriweather was defined by its transcendence of simply being an ‘electronic’ record, Veckatimest is defined by its transcendence of being a ‘folk’ or ‘indie’ record. When 2010 comes around and Ca Va Cool picks its favorite records from the past year, I’m placing even money on these offerings, the same even money I’ll be paying in penance for downloading the leaks of both records.
Tags: Grizzly Bear