Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest

Album: Veckatimest
Artist: Grizzly Bear
Released: 2009
Rating: 4.5/5

First off, I have no idea what the title means. But anyway, I didn't get the hype surrounding Grizzly Bear's past two albums, Horn of Plenty and Yellow House. They were pleasant enough psych-folk records but they were kinda boring and dragged on too long. However, with Veckatimest, Edward Droste and co. finally seem to have made an album deserving of the praise heaped upon this group (well, group for Yellow House and Veckatimest, on Horn of Plenty it was just Droste).

Veckatimest is an album where textures and atmospheres are as important as the songs themselves. The album's production is given a wide-open, cavernous feel where the music can resonate and echo. There's lots of space in between all of the instruments to keep everything nice and clear, and the silence in between the notes is as important as the notes themselves. Making the music feel epic is just as important as playing it to Grizzly Bear.

Grizzly Bear also put a lot of care and attention to detail into the music itself. The music is still vaguely psychedelic folk-rock, but this time around they've decided to trim all the excess fat that plagued Yellow House. The songs are shorter and more focused this time around. Vocal harmonies are put to good use throughout, rising and falling throughout the songs. Most of the songs use mainly acoustic guitars, although an occasional electric is used and occasional fuzz is added to the bass. Other instruments like piano and strings pop up throughout to complement the songs.

The most impressive thing about the music is the restraint with which all the instruments are used. Songs like "Two Weeks" and "While You Wait For The Others" may feature everything (multiple vocal harmonies, pianos, string sections, etc.), but they still manage to utilize silence as much as they do everything else. Subtle techniques like the utilization of contrast help add to the recording's power.

This one's definitely worth picking up.

Highlights: "Two Weeks", "All We Ask", "While You Wait For The Others"