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And "Friend EP" is no more or less than that -- a jumble of covers (both theirs and other people's), alternate versions, and even a demo. It has one dud track, but the rest are pretty much mellow, arty little gems, sometimes rendered into something almost unrecognizable.
One of the biggest things here is the alternate versions of their songs -- it starts with the rippling, dreamlike, almost celestial version of "Alligator," as well as an electric-edged "Little Brother" and smoothly flowing "Shift." The final song is a lo-fi, home-recorded rendition of "Deep Blue Sea," which relies heavily on strummed acoustic guitar and faint whistling.
The only sour note is the Terrible vs. Nonhorse: Sounds Edit remix of "Plans," which is basically a big squiggle of psychotic flute, clatters, blown fuses, doorbells, and what sounds like a banjo dissolving.
Grizzly Bear also turn out a spooky, weirdly wistful cover of Carole King's "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)". Additionally they also toss out a little demo called "Granny Diner," an ambient cluster of fuzz, meandering guitar, with a few ripples of soft organ and mournful vocals near the end. Not a bad song, but you can hear why it didn't make the cut.
And finally, there's a trio of bands covering Grizzly Bear's songs -- Band of Horses, CSS, and Atlas Sound. CSS rework "Plans" into a tight electronic squiggly dancefest, while Band of Horses go in the opposite direction, turning the same song into a music-hall country tune. And Atlas Sound turns "Knife" into a beautiful, hypnotically ambient pop tune.Read more ›
"Friend" (11 tracks; 43 min.) brings a lot of dreamy tracks, many of which are reworked songs from their previous "Yellow House" and "Horns of Plenty" albums, with several other covers thrown into the mix. Let me admit upfront that I heard this album before I heard the previous albums, and that I have to come and love this collection for what it is. In fact, when I got "Yellow House" after having listened to this so much, I was a bit let down by the "original" album that served as the main underpinning of this collection. Highlights are plenty on here, the best being "Little Brother", a reworked electric guitar version from "Yellow House", and so much better in my opinion.
I saw these guys again just this last weekend, opening up for Radiohead. Frontman Edward Droste, looking at the massive crowd, blurted out "This is a little surreal to us", and I'm sure it was. The band brought a terrific set, a mix of old songs (including a biting "Little Brother") and new songs, previewing the new album that will come out later this year, and I'll be checking that out for sure. Meanwhile, "Friend" stands quite nicely on its own.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Grizzly Bear and friends gather for their FRIEND EP, and their electric folk rock leanings are on full display as "Alligator" crackles into life. Read morePublished 11 months ago by scoundrel
The just gritty, internal, vocalized covers, and different alternate takes really take this for a nice, wild ride. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Nathan Freeland