Wednesday, 3 June 2009

Review: Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Some groups are meant to be over the top, being the hype of the year, although they really don't deserve it, others tend to stay a little bit aside, but hold plenty of fine surprises for true music lovers. Such is the case with the American lo-fi/folk quartet Grizzly Bear, who demonstrate to the best how quality sound is actually supposed to be created with their third studio album "Veckatimest".

Veckatimest is the name of a small island in Dukes County, Massachusetts, and I dare say it is one of the most original album titles I have recently heard. At first I thought it is nonsense, but when you listen to the album you could actually visualize this picturesque little island nested in the warm grasp of a blue bay. The whole album is a spiritual endeavor to maturity, the coming to terms with reality and the fascination of emotional complexity. The album merely insists on lyrical perfection, missed out only be the repetition of a few topics, but the best is kept after a few listens when you actually sink into the depths of symbols and indulge into the structural coherence in the album.

After a few experiments, left mostly out of studio albums, Grizzly Bear have proved to be one of the fastest evolving neo-folk American bands, who manage to put the standard higher with every next release of theirs. Although not being one of the most profound pioneers of chamber pop, they have played quite an important role in its popularization, especially in the States where the scene grew in a fortnight. "Veckatimest" is swinging between genres and still preserves preserves the idea of an album both stylistically and lyrically inseparable. They have even tried at certain points to sound poppier and more accessible, which may be seen as a major flaw to fans, who support their relation to the folk scene, but I believe that Grizzly Bear have done it very swiftly and softly, leaving a little surprise for anyone open to less commercially orientated pop music.

"Veckatimest" is not your million-copy selling groundbreaking album and definitely not radios' newest favourite addition to their playlists, but is this year's one of the best alternative records and if you are up for some quality time with meaningful texts, emotionally enriched tunes and extraordinarily charming vocals than Grizzly Bear's third album would be the right choice.

Songs to hear: "Two Weeks", "All We Ask", "While You Wait For The Others" and "Cheerleader"

Personal rating: 8 out of 10