I love music that is challenging, complex, and layered - but oftentimes that results in music that is difficult to decipher and kind of ugly. Sometimes, however, it's nice to find music that may not be complcated and off-putting, but simply sounds so pretty. Grizzly Bear is one of those latter bands, and Veckatimest is their strongest, most beautiful work.
It's filled with delicate acoustic guitar work, quiet swells, and careful vocal melodies and harmonies wrapped in a comfortable, unobtrusive rhythm section. This is music that is clearly composed, not just written - everything is precise and lushly orchestrated. The strings are beautiful and effulgent; the electric piano is in perfect harmony with the rest of the record.
Every track on this album is a keeper. From album-opener "Southern Point" to wonderfully kick-butt closer "I Live With You", it's a beautiful cacophony. The lyrics are poignant and filled with melancholy (especially the sad refrain in "All We Ask"), and the harmonies are painted like masterpieces. It's as though the culmination of everything beautiful about music in the last four hundred years has coincided in this one moment - and the future couldn't look brighter.
Final Verdict: Adore it (with lots and lots of smiles)
One of the most exciting aspects of these point-counterpoint articles is that my bro and I have the opportunity to introduce each other to music we may not be familiar with previously. Such was the case with Grizzly Bear and Veckatimest. Not only had I not heard the album, I was not familiar with the band.
As the album started, I was intrigued. There was a lot going on here, and most of it was working for me. Then the second track hit. The electric piano evoked a visceral, somatic response in me. And that response centered around one word, a description I could not avoid: hipsters. These guys were hipsters, playing hipster music. I wasn't even surprised when I saw pictures of the band with their American Apparel skinny jeans and hipster oh-so-cool carefully mussed hair. I knew it was coming.
The album is a flashy, well executed blend of folk and hipster indie rock. They pull it off very well. Their sound certainly hearkens back to Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young. For some, that will be a great thing. For me, well, I can't stand CSN&Y. Yeah, burn me for the musical heretic I am. Overall, not a good combo. CSN&Y AND hipsters. No thanks.
Final Verdict: Ignore It (I mean seriously, if there is one thing I find more terrifying than Wild Things, it is dirty hipsters)