Supposedly an album that takes time like an acquired taste, I let it simmer for nine or ten listens over the course of four days. This is when I realized that the album had garnered a rather large amount of praise and the band made appearances on television playing two songs from Veckatimest, which apparently some clouted people must have enjoyed in order to allow them to perform on two of the most well known talk shows in America. I realize the attraction for this album and I know why everyone likes it, and there are at least two truly memorable songs here. But a great song duplicated over and over isn’t going to magically produce another one, or twelve. The album is draining to say the least; a chore to enjoy and when you finally do it proves to be painfully average.
Despite the way I’ve degraded it so far, Veckatimest does feature some incredible songs. “Ready, Able”, “Southern Point” and “Foreground” alone save the album from being entirely unbearable. What all of these songs have in common is spectacular drum and guitar work, the two aspects that allowed me to sit through the whole thing. The opener Southern Point is quite catchy and does a fine job introducing the album. “Ready, Able” construes a peaceful paradise of mental orgasm, with infinitely relaxing instrumental work and some beautifully accompanying singing. When I listen to it I picture myself laying on an exotic flowerbed, meditating on all the good in life…it truly is an enveloping movement. And “Foreground” I must say is the best album closer I’ve heard in a long while, perfectly summarizing the thematic and sonic expressions of this record and conveying it in a lenient and utterly harmonious fashion, and gorgeously performing on the piano as well.
I appreciate the vocals on this record for their technical achievements but they mostly bore me to death and make me think of insomnia, or another heavily troubled mindset. I have this doomed connection with most of Grizzly Bear’s music which is a large reason why I never liked them much, but especially on this record it shows far more than it did on the acclaimed “Yellow House”. The song “Fine For Now” is the most depressing thing I’ve heard all year in terms of music; it epitomizes death, depravity and loneliness in its minimalistic wrath. It certainly leads up to a light hearted track named “Cheerleader” that while is tiring enough to warrant an eye gouging, isn’t so dreadful. Yet I shouldn’t be looking for reasons this album isn’t so bad, I should be wondering why it is so good if it were. We could argue world-view here but I’m an optimist.
Not only is this record boring but it is unoriginal. The majority of the songs recycle the songwriting formula that the highlights do, possibly in an attempt to re-create those masterful renderings of human emotion and failing. Veckatimest is an album that stumbles over itself, and when it realizes it, tosses in cheesy melodies played on a semi-obscure instrument and a vocal crescendo. This doesn’t do much to help. When the band isn’t playing their instruments with the least amount of effort one could possibly require to do anything, they are reminding me of how much better this album could be if it were an EP, and they spent more time developing an interesting record. Even when they try to get loud on “I Live With You” I can’t help but call it a contrived recovery from one of the most sleep inducing performances I’ve ever heard, and it only lasts a few seconds.
Now music has many purposes, and I’m honestly not joshing you when I say that this is the absolute greatest album to listen to, that came out this decade, when one is sleepless. Veckatimest will knock you out quicker than six Tylenol PM’s and a fat sack of Lows. Its pretentious attempts at getting put on the Bambi soundtrack and synchronized boredom are mental fellatio for the insomniac. I feel this way about Veckatimest because after two weeks of almost nothing but sleeplessness, I was able to recline and take in the hazy force of Grizzly Bear, treating myself to dreams for the next nine and a half hours. That’s a true story, and one of the few reasons why I will not consider this record a complete abomination that would have been better had the band cut about eight or nine songs. But everyone else seems to enjoy it, so give it a crack, but not while you're driving.
The review reads too much like a direct response to the hype rather than an objective look at the album, which in turn discredits a lot of you're saying because it sounds like you're just not "getting it" and are angry about it. That said, it's still well written, I just disagree with your approach to the record and your opinion.
well look at that sentence.^ It's basically "the hype made me get this shit argh anger". That comes up a lot in the first paragraph, which, as your introduction, sets the tone for everything else. You keep coming back to it with sentences like "Yet I shouldn’t be looking for reasons this album isn’t so bad, I should be wondering why it is so good if it were," and your conclusion "But everyone else seems to enjoy it, so give it a crack, just don’t get stoned while you do it." It's obvious that you wanted to enjoy this record as much as everyone else has (and for the record, I'm not as hot on it as everyone else is either), but the fact it wasn't the best thing ever seems to intensify your response to the music, calling "Cheerleader" eye-gouging (lol wrong btw), for example.
Nobody was calling it the best thing ever and I think most of Yellow House is almost just as boring, so I wasn't expecting that. I kinda liked "Two Weeks" when they played on Letterman, and even though that song has become one of the most average parts of the record for me, the hype still contributed more to my finding this record than expecting its goodness. Thats way too assuming of my own personality which I don't think you can absorb from a single review. I commented on the hype so much because simply there is hype for this record and a hell of a lot of it, what with Pitchfork giving it a 9.0, coverage in Rolling Stone, and two esteemed American talk show performances. Its a hype monster.
This is well written, but I'm not sure if we're listening to the same album. This is pretty much a pop-folk record, the melodies are incredibly strong while the songwriting still manages to still be subtle at the same time, its incredible that it managed to pull of the balance to a tee. And I'm not sure if you're hearing the same Fine For Now as I am, its such a hopeful track, its got an almost jazz groove to it, especially when it crescendos with the guitar strums and drum rolls and whatnot.
The only thing about this thats growing on me are the highlights I mentioned, but instead of just growing on me my taste for them switches around and I'll like one more than the other for a day or so.
And StreetlightRock, I think the melodies are mostly boring and sound like they took about five minutes to write, even on the tracks that I like. And rest assured, we're listening to the same exact album.
Look Scyther, we all hold opinions and what-not and disliking this album is fine. But this review is essentially based off the hype it received (first paragraph), which isn't how an album should be perceived. In addition, most reviewers and listeners have had this album for months. My opinion of Cynic's Traced in Air wouldn't have changed my 3.5 rating whatsoever if I listened to it 50 times in the first two weeks of listening to it. It was months later when I gave it a spin and realized how amazing it is.
So to sum up what I said, ok sure, 2.5, whatever, but it doesn't warrant a review.
oh and on an album related note, While You Wait For The Others is up there with Southern Point, Central and Remote, and On A Neck, On A Spit as the best songs they've ever released.
The introduction is the introduction to the introduction. Sure, it set a disagreeing tone for the rest of the review but that wasn't until here:
"But a great song duplicated over and over isn’t going to magically produce another one, or twelve. The album is draining to say the least; a chore to enjoy and when you finally do it proves to be painfully average."
Any other mention of hype (which that isn't) is either describing the praise it got on two talk shows or simply mentioning that everyone liked it, as a recommendation to my reader, which I have done in every single one of my previous reviews. This review is not based off hype, this review is based off the fact that this album is excruciatingly boring, simple, contrived, and a great sleep aide.