Those Brooklyn based purveyors of experimental folk rock Grizzly Bear are back with their latest offering Veckatimest. Confusingly named after an uninhabited island in Massachusetts, the album continues the band’s obsession with expansive vocal harmonies and acoustic guitars sounding like a warm hug from a friend as your coming down on a Sunday morning and just need to be held.
Funnily enough this album would be the perfect soundtrack to an MDMA morning. The shiny production almost encapsulates you in a womb of aural ecstasy, and the whole album has this sort of sing-a-long quality to it that is rarely coupled with such masterful musicianship and sonic manipulation.
Opener Southen Point has a joyous insistence thanks to its stunning arrangement. Starting with a folky guitar line driving forward the vocals the first chorus explodes into a glittering nebula of swirling guitars and soaring vocals all tied together by skittering bell and heavy percussion samples that underlay the rest of the song.
Third track All We Ask is the first point on the album where the band chill right the fuck out, crooning their way through the plodding bass lines delivering stirring builds that snap back to the songs minimal back drop of muted guitars and soft vocals. This song more so than the others exhibits the bands talent for delicacy as they lace strings and samples throughout the song in ways reminiscent of The Beatles or The Beach Boys circa Pet Sounds.
Opening with a’ Capella vocal harmonies Fine For Now builds into a sombre soundscape that rises and falls in swells of instrumentation before settling into a vocal driven lull of lyricism that then builds back into a Mogwai inspired wall of sound crescendo.
Other songs such as Cheerleader, Hold Still and I Live With You all stand out from the album, but trying to pick favourite tracks is like trying to choose which testicle to amputate, I mean sure I don’t need both, but I love them equally and wouldn’t want to lose even one.
I could rant on for hours about every song on this album. Each is a carefully put together and considered piece of stand alone spaced out folk rock glory, yet they all work perfectly with each other, keeping a consistent mood across the album while altering the pace and energy to deliver a startlingly enthralling musical experience.