I've been listening to Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest for about a month now and my brain is still reeling with pleasure and wonder everytime i play it. It's not just the album of this year, it's one of the best albums of the last few decades, a Pet Sounds, an Ok Computer, a seminal record, its thaaat good.
Grizzly Bear have the classic folk stylings of Fleet Foxes or Sufjan Stevens but married to the experimentalism and sonic adventure of Animal Collective and Radiohead, the melodies and harmonies are extraordinary but so too are the subtly and complexity in everything else here - the strings, the production, all very prog rock to be honest, but in a good way. This year surely marks the return of respectable Prog rock in the shape of this, the Animal Collective and Patrick Watson album!
It's hard to believe if John Lennon or Arthur Lee could hear this, or more realistically Brian Wilson or Paul Mc Cartney, they would not recognise their worthy successors. And well, we know Radiohead adore Grizzly Bear anyhow.
Veckatimest is so good it sent me back to reevaluate Grizzly Bear's last album Yellow House - and it's a very different beast of a record, much more introspective, avant garde, downbeat, very eerie, sad, haunting, oppressively so for many i imagine, reminiscent of the Beatles White Album in places. It's the Grizzly Bear album that people who don't like their bands selling too many records will point to as the 'true' classic should 'Veckatimest' go on to sell a bucketload. But they'll be wrong. As excellent as Yellow House is, and i'll admit i didn't stick with it long enough when it first came out, deeming it too 'difficult' and 'impenetrable', its not the raging masterpiece Veckatimest obviously is.
Department of Eagles, In Ear Park
Looking for more Grizzly Bear material i belately came across Grizzly Bear singer Daniel Rossen's project with his mate Fred Nicolaus - Department of Eagles' In Ear Park came out last year - a quieter, more reflective record than Veckatimest and it's also really excellent. So all in all a talented and mildly prolific bunch of buggers!
Really looking forward to their Vicar St show, November 1.
Here's the wrly amusing video for Two Weeks from the Veckatimest album
Grizzly Bear, Two Weeks