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4.2 out of 5 stars 98 customer reviews

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Audio CD, May 26, 2009
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Grizzly Bear released Yellow House in 2006. It was a slow, steady and stunning ride, and given the album s otherworldly charm and staying power, it s hard to believe three years have gone by.

That might seem like a long time. But given Grizzly Bear s hectic touring schedule, including stints with Radiohead, TV On The Radio and Feist as well as several performances during a five-night tribute to Paul Simon at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, a co-headlining show with the L.A. Philharmonic, and the release of Friend, a 10-song EP of re-recorded and re-worked songs, collaborations and covers all this seems reasonable. They ve been busy.

But about a year ago, singer/songwriter Ed Droste, drummer Christopher Bear, woodwinds player/bassist Chris Taylor and singer/songwriter/guitarist Daniel Rossen who s other band, Department of Eagles, released the sublime In Ear Park last fall began passing demos around, and working together creatively in different pairs and permutations. A few months later they set off with producer/engineer Chris Taylor s mobile recording rig to begin the recording process for Veckatimest, which would unfold over the next six months in three very singular locations. And in many ways, it is the recording process that reveals this record each space catalyzing different interactions, inspirations, and ultimately, songs.

In July, the band spent three weeks at the Glen Tonche house in upstate New York. Though still finding their feet, much of the album s groundwork was laid there. After breaking briefly for the Radiohead tour in August, the band convened at a house on Cape Cod, graciously provided by Droste s grandmother, where they re-addressed and solidified the compositions they d started at Glen Tonche. Lastly, Grizzly Bear came home, to a church in NYC, to fine-tune and complete the album named Veckatimest after a tiny, uninhabited island on Cape Cod that the band visited and was inspired by, particularly liking its Native American name. Artist William O'Brien created Veckatimest s colorful, hand drawn artwork a perfect compliment to the album s enigmatic title.

There is an unbelievable clarity of sound and vision to Veckatimest: vocals (a duty shared by all band members) are sharper and more complex, arrangements are tighter, production is more venturous and lyrics more affecting. Having opened the creative dialogue at such an early stage, Grizzly Bear was able to realize these 12 songs together as a band, making it their most collaboratively compositional album to date.
This yielded an unexpected mix of material that feels more confident, mature, focused and most of all, dynamic. From songs like 'Dory' (a gracefully psychedelic, ever-evolving work),'Ready Able' (a synth-y opus, and one of four songs that boasts string arrangements by composer Nico Muhly) and 'Foreground' (a plaintive, vocal-driven send-off, and one of two songs to feature choral arrangements also by Muhly) to more resounding pop songs like 'Two Weeks' (an other-worldly doo wop featuring backing vocals from Beach House s Victoria LeGrand) and 'While You Wait For the Others' (a triumphant and melodically cacophonous pop masterpiece), Veckatimest is an album of the highest highs and lowest lows an unbelievably diverse collection of songs that celebrates the strength of each band member, and the power of the whole. It was well worth the wait.

Grizzly Bear’s third album is a modern masterpiece of chamber-pop music, comprised of lush, smooth songs that beautifully evoke the New England seaside where it was recorded. On the sublime “Cheerleader,” drums patter and guitars gently reverberate as frontman Ed Droste muses, “Maybe this time we’ll grow.” That much is true--as spectacular as was the group’s previous effort, Yellow House, the songs of Veckatimest flow together much more exquisitely, a gulf stream of intricate arrangements and lyrical harmonies. While the terrific singles have justifiably received much attention--“Two Weeks” begins with a plinking piano intro before dropping into the sweetly swooning melody; the guitar and vocals of “While You Wait for the Others” start and stutter before launching into the dazzling chorus--it’s the slow-burning songs like “All We Ask” and “Ready, Able,” shimmering with madrigal-esque vocal rounds, that lend the record a certain eminence. The album ends on such an august note; “Foreground" is one of the best closing tracks in recent memory. As the piano quietly cantillates, Droste sings, “Something about this might / Take all evening.” It’s a song of twilight, a farewell bid to the burst of summer and light that is Veckatimest.  --Erin K. Thompson
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 26, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Warp Records
  • ASIN: B001U7FWM8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (98 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,511 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By boop on August 13, 2009
Format: Audio CD
More and more often music is referenced by other bands- "oh, it sounds like so and so" or "so and so is the new blahblah". Grizzly Bear manages to sidestep these identifiers creating it's own music without falling into the pit of preconceived notions genres create. When I first started telling people about Grizzly Bear i'd find myself at a loss for words when asked to describe what it sounded like. Expansive, harmonic, folkish (we won't use the term "Freak Folk" here), rockish, but always elusively avoiding falling into one definitive sound, which is the strength of this album as well as the previous one. Ideally, bands will evolve and not keep putting out different versions of the same album year after year, and Veckatimest successfully takes the next step. While their first widely known album Yellow house was soaring and symphonic, Veckatimest manages to ground itself in earthier sounds. There's a richness to the layers and layers of harmony, the syncopation of the rhythms and the contrast of frontman Ed Droste's expansively melodic voice to Daniel Rossen's sharper timbre.
I admit it took several listenings to really begin to appreciate the sensitivity of the music on Veck. I was attached to the rich softness of Yellow house, the ease with which one could sink into the cradle of sound. Veckatimest is harder, a bit more masculine, but still possessing the uniqueness of their previous work. Funnily, I noticed this most when I would put my ipod on shuffle, and all of a sudden i'd find myself drawn into a song, and have to check to see who it was since I hadn't yet memorized all the songs on the album. Inevitably, it was Veckatimest.
This album is not a complete departure from their previous work, but rather a continuation, and therefore a worthwhile investment. It's rare that you find music that incorporates so many different elements into one beautiful package.
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Format: Audio CD
I can recall the first place I heard Grizzly Bear was in my local CVS. Just browsing, I heard their song "two weeks" and was jerked out of my headspace, said to my husband, "That song is amazing". Thought, too bad I can't find out who they are. Like a week later, heard the song in a car commercial, and was so excited that I had a way to identify it. Since identifying the band, I have repetitively listened to their free streaming songs. I have read some negative reviews that claim the music and anyone who gets it are music snobs. Maybe some are; maybe some are just music educated. I readily admit that I have a bachelor's degree in music, but as I have said I'm not a snob. You can take my word on this, because most classical musicians sneer at the very idea that rock music might hold a candle to classical. I think they are just apples and oranges. The thought behind classical pretension is that popular music isn't as complex and therefore not as good. I think that bands like Grizzly Bear are so appreciated, because it is that rare beast (pun intended). It is a band that deserves it's raves because it's songs show a real talent for song construction; a true understanding of melody, harmony, rythym, dynamics, phrasing, lyrics etc. I am truly transported, because their craftsmanship takes me to an elevated place. I can't even believe pretension even enters the discussion when we are constantly bombarded by an industry that almost has nothing to do with musicianship anymore. I'd really hate to see such a talented group of actual musicians' rating go down because of the same kind of elitism and reactionary hatred of elitism that exists in the classical music world. I, for one, believe that good music is good music, and Grizzly Bear, most
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Format: MP3 Music
I would compare this album to Radiohead's In Rainbows in that its a towering example of a band at the top of its creative ability gelling together to create one cohesive vision. Whats amazing to me is that this is only Grizzly Bear's 2nd full-on album.

To me, this record has that intangible 'it' quality that you cant put your finger on what makes it so appealing, but its what keeps pulling you back listen after listen.

Describing the sound on this album is a bit difficult, but I would call it a rustic, ethreal, pop-folk. But I believe that the enjoyment comes not from whatever genre you want to call it, but at appreciating the meticulous song craft that creates what is, for me, the most memorable album in years.

Sorry Animal Collective, I love you guys and your new album is great, but you just got beat out for album of the year. Highest Recommendation.
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Format: Audio CD
As a listener of all music (and I really mean ALL) this contemporary album takes me everywhere I want to go, yet never sounds like any of its references. "Southern Point" is at times sentimental and nostalgic post-psychedelic rock, but slaps you in the face with something like you've never heard the second you get comfortable. Grizzly Bear gives its nods to the defining moments of 20th century pop with arching vocals and a tad of doo-wop (that they do so well) in singles "Two Weeks" and "Cheerleader." But as a music lover who is always interested in the less-conventional side of things, Grizzly Bear does that too--coming out of nowhere with songs like "Fine For Now" and "I Live With You" (perhaps my favorite of all). You're left asking yourself "What year is it? And what planet am I on?"
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