Grizzly Bear has come a long way in the past 2 years. From its original incarnation as a one man band of acoustic guitar, field tapes and drum machine; to it's current state as a full band complete with drums, two guitars, bass, woodwinds, effects pedals, cradled by four part harmonies, Grizzly Bear's music has made the leap from charming lo-fi folk rock to breathtaking, experimental cinematic pop. The talent between the four members of Grizzly Bear is evident from their deft playing, which also makes for a brilliant and engrossing live act.
It's a rare thing to find a band that counts the glockenspiel, autoharp, banjo, and flute as key instruments, especially when it's a rock band with just four members. Grizzly Bear use all the above instruments plus another dozen or so to make the 10 floating, gossamer, low-lit tunes that comprise Yellow House
. They are rounded edges, off-kilter waltzes ("Lullabye," which teeters tipsily), laconic vignettes, and even a vintage 1930s waltz written by singer Edward Droste's great-aunt. The meshwork here is Grizzly Bear's smarts, a banjo lending fleeting rhythmic hints to a guitar-picked melody ("Reprise"), a haunted piano filling the sonic air with smoke. All four members sing duskily and softly, making a slow-going atmosphere that would delight the great composer Morton Feldman. The brilliance here is that every song mesmerizes, not with aural dominance but with an atmospheric magnetism. --Andrew Bartlett