Grizzly Bear
Veckatimest


4.5
superb

Review

by Daniel Smith USER (21 Reviews)
May 26th, 2009 | 22 replies | 3,141 views


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A solid album that seems so effortless in its grooves and contours that it brushes the classic status it subconsciously wanted to reach.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

Well, boys and girls, jot it down in the history books that the Indie hype train made a major stop at Merriweather Post Pavilion in January, threw a little parade, and then chugged its way forward again without making another big stop until May with Grizzly Bear’s very own Veckatimest. It’s kind of like this year’s musical The Dark Knight, except the differences between the two couldn’t be more distinct. Whereas Christopher Nolan hoped to achieve a modern film classic, Edward Droste and his dreamy indie folk band set out only to make a well-rounded and worthwhile record. Whereas Christian Bale and Heath Ledger duke it out in intense, nail-bitten, explosion-ridden skirmishes, the four members of Grizzly Bear caress their listeners with passages of subdued music – sometimes gentle and sometimes upbeat, but never loud. And what is the result but a solid album that sounds so effortless in its grooves and contours that it brushes the classic status it subconsciously wanted to reach.

It is a euphoric place where one can hide for fifty minutes without being found, a happy little sequestered haven unbeknownst to the rest of the busy world, and Grizzly Bear invites us there in brilliant opener “Southern Point.” Over soft acoustics and electronics, vocalist Daniel Rossen sings sometimes with a whisper, sometimes triumphantly, but always with confidence. After a few short minutes, “Southern Point” concludes with a jaw dropping climactic explosion of colorful reverb, best likened to a transcendental fireworks display, before ending in an acoustic guitar outro. Having built up massive amounts of steam, why would the band let up there? Infectiously poppy and melodic, memorable single “Two Weeks” begins Veckatimest’s near-perfect flow which is later solidified. I must confess: “Two Weeks” is perhaps the year’s most flawless pop tune, backed by piano and smooth vocal hooks, and I doubt we’ll see anything as fun to sing along to for a good while.

Choirs, orchestral movements, and layers upon layers of indie rock music permeate the remainder of the album’s thirteen cuts, and the very breadth in scope of the territory explored here is admirable. Seemingly conscientious of a listener’s tendency to drift when it comes to music so subtle as such found within Grizzly Bear’s, the musicians’ timing in relation to flow is wonderful. For example, the distorted guitar crescendo of “Fine for Now” effectively breaks the spell cast by the atmospheric “All We Ask” and is suitably followed by two more downtempo tracks before picking up again with the dark, haunting “Ready, Able.” By Veckatimest’s halfway point, it should become clear: Grizzly Bear are trying to pull a James Joyce on us by creating a textured musical universe so dense it must be revisited constantly. It must be studied. But fear not, for the lyrics aren’t necessarily representative of stream of consciousness (although they are often ambiguous in nature, as expansive as the accompanying tunes themselves) and the overall package is much more accessible than, say, Ulysses. Truth.

While the middle section suffers a slight dip in quality with the back-to-back “About Face” and “Hold Still,” the closing three tracks revive the album with surprising energy, emotion, and rigor. “While You Wait For the Others” is an undoubted classic, doused with sunshine and grandeur, and is the closest Veckatimest comes to a straight-up rock song. “I Live With You” is the soundtrack for a Technicolor Walt Disney cartoon on acid, bursting with unbridled passion and a cacophonous conclusion. And then there’s “Foreground,” the album’s heartbreaking conclusion that evokes memories of Radiohead’s “Videotape” in mood and sound. As the choirs sing out Veckatimest’s final notes, the effect is similar to being awakened from a dream of sorts. Perhaps T.S. Eliot articulated the feeling best in his concluding lines to “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”: “We have lingered in the chambers of the sea / By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown / Till human voices wake us and we drown.”

Try as I may, I cannot fully describe to you the experience that is Grizzly Bear’s superb third album. Its many nooks and crannies are seemingly innumerable. The quest to discover them lies in your hands, or rather, in your ears. All I know is that, looking back on The Dark Knight now, one year after its initial release, it seems to lack the sparkle it once had. Its hype had deflated. Veckatimest is not like that.



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user ratings (907)
Chart.
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
Jonathan Kroening (4.5)
Wildly coherent due to a clear polarity of sound and approach....

scyther (2.5)
Dory as in Finding Nemo?...

Ryan Flatley EMERITUS (4.5)
Veckatimest works like a cash-back bonus, the more you give in to it, the grander the return....


Comments:Add a Comment 
ziroth
May 26th 2009



1252 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

the indie hype train sucks, but I need to give this another listen

kitsch
May 26th 2009



5107 Comments


this is real tight

IsItLuck?
Emeritus
May 26th 2009



4926 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Ziroth, you say that, yet you are digging Cymbals Eat Guitars

Digging: Joyce Manor - Never Hungover Again

kitsch
May 26th 2009



5107 Comments


hahaha

theyre awesome as well

ziroth
May 26th 2009



1252 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Yes, but I still hate the indie hype train. Plus, Why are there Mountains got much less praise than MPP. This is pretty good, but probably going to be overhyped.

kitsch
May 26th 2009



5107 Comments


obv its animal collective

every indie kids wet dream

natey
May 26th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

who gives a shit about the "indie hype train." I'm looking forward to listening to this

ziroth
May 26th 2009



1252 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Apparently

Drsmith4
May 26th 2009



1712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Obviously, I like this album a lot. But MPP was better. Sorry. I ride the Indie hype train.

mynameischan
Staff Reviewer
May 26th 2009



17920 Comments


good music is good music

stop whining about hype

natey
May 26th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

all aboard!

Drsmith4
May 27th 2009



1712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Forgot to mention this earlier, but I really appreciate feedback since I spend time and effort on my reviews. Thanks.

Yotimi
May 27th 2009



6442 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yo Drsmith we pretty much have identical album ratings. Guess I better check this out.

natey
May 27th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i'm digging the diction and content/opinions in the review a lot, but the syntax is kinda awkward. try using more sentences and colons perhaps and less commas? i just think it makes for a much brighter read

PuddleSwimmer
May 27th 2009



1457 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I got this but didn't listen to it yet. I don't think I'll be disappointed, I love these guys

Drsmith4
May 27th 2009



1712 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yeah, I'm gonna fix the syntax. I actually just finished examinations, so I guess I'm still kind of in essay mode.

gaslightanthem
May 27th 2009



5209 Comments



good music is good music

stop whining about hype


This.

natey
May 27th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

kane i said the same thing as him three posts earlier!

gaslightanthem
May 27th 2009



5209 Comments



who gives a shit about the "indie hype train." I'm looking forward to listening to this


Fine. This too.




natey
May 27th 2009



4170 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

kthx



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