I reviewed Grizzly Bear’s ‘Veckatimest’ for City Life

May 23, 2009

I liked it. Click here to see the article on citylife.co.uk,

There’s something very special about Veckatimest.

In this era of illegal downloads and plummeting CD sales, it’s becoming increasingly rare for an album to arrive with a real sense of occasion, but Grizzly Bear’s breakthrough LP will rightly draw critical praise right across the spectrum and catapult this New York quartet to a new level of fame.

Named after an uninhabited island in Massachusetts, Veckatimest exudes quality.  Every note seems to have been closely studied and considered, before being painstakingly stitched into its proper place within a richly textured backdrop to the flawless vocal harmonies.

Acoustic guitars and swoonsome backing vocals breathe a wistful, time-out-of-mind atmosphere into opener ‘Southern Point’, before a series of powerful electric crescendos – best exemplified by the staggering, rollercoaster-drop chorus of ‘While You Wait for the
Others’ and the controlled, almost Godspeed! You Black Emperor-style noise classicism of ‘Fine For Now’ – force their way into the forefront of your consciousness.

The general sense of Veckatimest as a serious (important, even) record carries through into its lyrics.  Poignant, perceptive one-liners abound – “We’re all faltering / How can I help with that?” is a personal favourite, best heard in the context of its complex, soul-stirring ‘Fine For Now’.

Picking fault, their undeniable musical flair can lead them into some overly showy moments.  The falsetto backing vocals on ‘Two Weeks’ are perhaps a touch too theatrical – and there’s a hint of Arcade Fire at their more bombastic in ‘I Live With You’, for example; but measure that against the fact that the same song features gorgeous, sinuous horns reminiscent of the lunar, ebb-tide grace of ‘Art Decade’ from David Bowie’s Low.  The occasional ostentatious moment has to be forgiven.

Congratulations, Grizzly Bear.  Now, get yourselves to Manchester and take a bow….


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