Brooklyn's dreamy psyche-folk quartet Grizzly Bear broke through with the beautiful Yellow House LP three years ago. That album featured a slew of textures, harmonic layers, space to think and a slick mix-down. Prime songs "Knife," "Plans," "Central and Remote" and "Neck on a Spit" have gorgeous drones, sweeps, swells and clamors. It's a lush, meditative and memorable release; the band's quaint yet evocative harmonized melodies drilled firmly onto the pedestal.
In '07, the band released the experimental Friend EP. Comprised of alternate takes and covers, it barely held us over.
Now Grizzly Bear releases its long-awaited follow-up, Veckatimest, on May 26. Named after a small island off the coast of Massachusetts — New England upper-crust frontman Ed Droste's home state — the album's anything but stodgy. I guess we could call it "indie-sophisticate," but that'd be pushing it. Maybe. The record is, once again, written from the heart; lyrics fluctuate through emotions of negotiation. As we heard with House, struggles of unrequited love, dim introspection and fractured relationships are common themes, but don't wear out. On the contrary, Veckatimest is not a record you can sprint through. The majority of the tracks are longer than four minutes and see two to four movements, which can make the songs feel longer. But who's complaining?
The first two, "Southern Point" and "Two Weeks," deliver exactly what we've been waiting for: a killer maturation of the rich, haunting sound we fans first fell in love with. The opener drops in with a groove that feels a bit like the Doors, but then it ramps up, stretches far out and gets, uh, grizzly. Veckatimest jangles around, flies and sinks down — we can hear hard work and dense musical understanding on each song. Listen to "While You Wait for the Others" back to back with "I Live With You" and you can hear the bridge that connects where the band's been and what listeners can probably expect in the (hopefully near) future.
Travis R. Wright is the arts and culture editor for Metro Times. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.