GRIZZLY BEAR – Veckatimest (2009)

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest Some albums don’t let you in right away; Grizzly Bear’s previous album, 2006’s Yellow House, was one such album. Try as I might, I couldn’t penetrate that album’s delicate forlorn threshold for the better part of a month, but when I finally did, I was grateful that I remained as patient with the group for as long as I was. Yellow House, as beautiful and intricate as it is, is a bit of a reclusive affair; the songs there sound as if they drifted into being, up from the dimly-lit corners of some abandoned ancestral home just before dawn. There’s an indefinable sadness that exists in that album, and that Grizzly Bear kept such a tight reign over it was the reason for my initial difficulties in divining the beauty it contained.

Veckatimest is the polar opposite – it’s lively and inviting, and seems to spring forth out of necessity than out of some abstract, ethereal sorrow. It’s a vast improvement over Yellow House, if for no other reason than it simply feels more like an album than Yellow House did. Everything on Veckatimest is more fleshed out – the pop songs are poppier (Two Weeks and While You Wait For The Others make Knife from Yellow House practically fade from memory), while the chamber material is far more muscular and intriguing (Cheerleader would fit well on a Belle & Sebastian album, were B&A ever to record an album with Brian Wilson). In short, Veckatimest is proof that musical cloud cover isn’t always the best idea.

I mean, think about it: Deerhunter did a similar switch-up last year with Microcastle, an album that’s far superior to their previous album, the delightful but murky Cryptograms. One year later, Grizzly Bear have followed them, lifting their musical veil, and allowing us to experience them unfiltered by any sort of compositional or emotional restraints. So despite being more natural in essence than Yellow House, in a weird way, Veckatimest feels as if it’s been culled from a dream – it’s imaginative and whimsical, yet remarkably clear and prescient. And if you happen to be the one dreaming it, please, do yourself a favor: don’t wake up.

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One Response to “GRIZZLY BEAR – Veckatimest (2009)”

  1. […] you’re embracing lush melodies and harmonies, and you’re not making a pop album (a la Grizzly Bear), then you’re a generational anomaly. Current trends aside, though, The Courage of Others is […]

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