Grizzly Bear – Veckatimest

grizzly_bear-veckatimest-cover-betterBand: Grizzly Bear
Album: Veckatimest
Genre: Neo-Psychedelia/ art-rock
Label: Warp Records

Easily one of the most stunning albums of 2009, Veckatimest manages to combine all the aspects of music that Grizzly Bear is loved for and create an accessible album that begs the listener to press the repeat button. Unlike many awaited albums this year, Veckatimest—named after the smallest of the Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts, feels quiet and unpretentious, slowly setting up residence in your head. The album creates a relaxing atmosphere with vocal harmonies, acoustic guitars, and lots of rhythm, similar to previous album Yellow House. As with Yellow House, bassist Chris Taylor doubles as the producer. The most obvious dissimilarity between Veckatimest and the past two albums is the refined sound that some critics where hoping to hear.

The opening track “Southern Point” pulls the listener into the album with its acoustic riffs and jazzy rhythm, slowly becoming denser while still managing to keep the underlying catchiness.

The next track “Two Weeks” is by far the “pop-iest” song on the album, and the obvious single. With its simple, yet meaningful lyrics, it feels like the listener is eavesdropping on one half of a conversation. It’s like a call and answer without the answer as we hear Ed Droste croon the words “Would you always maybe sometimes make it easy take your time” around the rest of the band’s vocal harmonies. It’s somewhat cheerful sound combined with the lyrics and vocals create a bit of a paradox that shows itself by making the song as a whole feel very pensive and brooding…in a happy way. This is the song that will most likely put the Brooklyn quartet on more people’s radar.

“All We Ask” slows it down a bit, starting out with just an acoustic guitar and a bass drum. The first minute of the songs feels like it could have been made into an interlude track, but the riff from it is tied into the rest of the song later on. “Fine for Now” keeps it slow, but with more layers than “All We Ask” and a focus on vocal harmonies. It also provides a very memorable chorus that breaks from the main melody.

Another gem on the album is “Cheerleader”, a track that offers the listener a head-bopping beat. Chris Bears’ formed the drum rhythm which is similar to Wolf Parade’s “You Are A Runner and I Am My Father’s Son” and staccato guitar notes.

Overall the album seems to focus more on each individual instrument. Veckatimest was a collaborative piece, as opposed to the first album, Horn of Plenty, which was largely a solo project of Droste’s and Yellow House. Droste and Daniel Rossen predominantly wrote the songs for Yellow house.

While the beauty in this album is undeniable it’s easy for songs to blend together if you aren’t paying attention. The album as a whole manages to be unforgettable in itself although songs, while perfect for the album, aren’t the kind that are going to be listened to by themselves.

Score: 8.5/10
Written by Tatiana T.

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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