Grizzly Bear
Painted Ruins


4.5
superb

Review

by Guardian of the Green USER (3 Reviews)
August 21st, 2017 | 145 replies


Release Date: 2017 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A bridge to the past, built by well-traveled men.

Upon entering the studio in 2012, Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear was riding on the heels of traction gained by a growing number of appearances at some of America's premiere festivals but they were still mostly flying under the radar with relatively quiet cries for a follow-up to the fantastic Veckatimest. At this point in their career, Grizzly Bear were largely based in experimental, psychedelic rock, paired with an abundance of melodic harmonies that increasingly placed them on the cusp of breaking through to a wider audience with each successive release. With 2012's Shields, the band was able to successfully channel their core sound into a much more accessible collection of songs, with a larger indie rock influence than ever before. Shields was a new peak for the band commercially, and arguably from a songwriting perspective as well, yet it seemed to lack some of the desolate and waning moments of solitude that were characteristic and complimentary to the atmosphere of their previous releases.

Now, with the release of Painted Ruins, the band has managed to bridge the gap between the Grizzly Bear of old and the sound that brought them the recognition they had been missing for several years before the release of Shields. This album is not a step back for the band, but rather a beautiful and welcome amalgamation of the sounds they have culminated over the last 15 years. The aforementioned moments of solitude no longer exist as single tracks, but rather fill the gaps between the melodies and the charming embraces that are ever-present throughout the album. The success of this blend may not feel immediate, as the band is subtle in their approach of engagement. The band sometimes manages to build lush walls around their audience before the listener finds they have already made a nice, cozy home for them inside the sound. This can be felt in the slow burn of tracks, such as the fluid 'Aquarian' and the gentle climb of both 'Systole' and 'Neighbors'. Fans of Shields will inevitably find themselves tapping their toes and getting in-step with the marching 'Mourning Sound', and the seemingly familiar hook that rounds out 'Three Rings' represents a perfect mix of the old with the new; painted ruins, indeed.

This deep into their career, it is inspiring that the band is able to evoke new feelings in their listeners. Along with the singles mentioned earlier, tracks like 'Glass Hillside' and 'Four Cypresses' will please any fan of Grizzly Bear, but the biggest reward from Painted Ruins lies in its heart-melting closer. The nonchalant, yet intimate delivery of 'Sky Took Hold' makes it quite possibly the best track of the band's career, giving us another ambiguous peek into the mind and heart of frontman Ed Droste. The lines, Who I am beneath the surface? / Hiding out so long inside my mind. / Every day I stay blind to it. / Habit comes and tears me open wide / all the time, already allude to self-examination and though the closing lines evade a specific issue, they give us a bigger taste of the artist’s mended pain as he gently croons, Since I was a young boy it was always there, / inside me growing, none of it seems fair / I've grown to accept it, let it take the stage / and leave me helpless, watching far away.

With such a warm and seductive album, it is easy to get lost in the endless folds of bliss- a perfect soundtrack to the twilight of summer. But, at its core, Grizzly Bear just want to wrap you up and tell you everything is okay, and with Painted Ruins they succeed; this bed is yours to lie in if you please.


user ratings (163)
Chart.
3.8
excellent
other reviews of this album
ian bledsoe (4)
frontal lobe disintegration; let the ocean take me....


Comments:Add a Comment 
dbizzles
August 21st 2017


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Shout out to users BlushfulHippocrene, LandDiving, and sincerelyaural for helping me edit and clean up this review- it would surely be a hot mess without their input and feedback. I can’t thank them enough. One of my boys, ianblxdsoe, also has a review up for this album, be sure to check out his take as well. Cheers!

Digging: Botanist - Collective: The Shape of He to Come

theBoneyKing
August 21st 2017


11765 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ayyy nice one dbizz, have a pos. Band is really growing on me.

Digging: The National - Sleep Well Beast

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2017


18383 Comments


a db review?? hell yeah, v slick man

LandDiving
Contributing Reviewer
August 21st 2017


1603 Comments


beautiful work dbiz. this has two good reviews already. please write more.

sincerelyaural
August 21st 2017


398 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Great work man, glad to see you write

dbizzles
August 21st 2017


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you for the kind words : )

ianblxdsoe
August 21st 2017


1295 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

dbiz back at it again with the best reviews around

Digging: Counterparts - You're Not You Anymore

ianblxdsoe
August 21st 2017


1295 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

ayy congrats on the feature

dbizzles
August 21st 2017


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Oh, woah! That's awesome!

pjorn
August 21st 2017


3768 Comments


oooo its that boi dbizzz

hard pos dude

dbizzles
August 21st 2017


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thank you, pjorn :DAB:

johnnyblaze
August 21st 2017


2959 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nice review. stoked to listen to this again. a lot of songs didn't really grab me on my first listen, but that's sort of expected with GB.

dbizzles
August 21st 2017


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Some of the tracks took a bit to grow, but repeated listens really pulled me in.

Kind of threw me off on first listen that 3 of the first 4 tracks are singles; had to give the rest much more attention at first.

ciregno
August 21st 2017


434 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Great review. This is a solid album, one that works better as a whole for me but I like those kinda albums more anyway. Glad I didn't listen to the singles. Favorite part of this album is how Ed and Daniel kinda take turns singing lead.

BlushfulHippocrene
August 21st 2017


1808 Comments


Congratulations on the well-deserved feature, DB! Just goes to show you should write here more. I liked Shields, so I'll give this a shot soon.

Digging: Hundred Waters - Communicating

dbizzles
August 21st 2017


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

@ciregno, their dynamic has always been a big highlight and I love it. Glad to hear that you're enjoying this as much as I am.



@Blush, thank you, sir. Couldn't have done it without you. Definitely give this a listen sooner or later.

Nrap
August 21st 2017


393 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

We have achieved 3.9

YourDarkAffected
August 21st 2017


1767 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I wish I could get into this, but even after several listens it strikes me as too similar to Shields, but with weaker songwriting. Horn of Plenty will probably always be my favorite thing they've done. Ed's done.

dbizzles
August 21st 2017


9835 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Aw, that's too bad. I hope it grows on you. They've yet to disappoint me since I've been following them.

Chortles
August 21st 2017


20598 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

very good review man. i didn't like shields really but i'm gonna give this one a shot since they're headlining a fest i'm going to in a few months

Digging: DJ Sprinkles - Midtown 120 Blues



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