the road to… painted ru­ins

Griz­zly Bear’s al­bum his­tory to date

UNCUT - - New Albums -

Horn Of Plenty

Start­ing out as Ed­ward Droste’s home record­ing project, Griz­zly Bear’s de­but is aeons away from the lush group sound they’d later develop. Raw and demo-like, lay­ers of vo­cals com­pete with hisses, clicks and oc­ca­sional dis­tant drums over­dubbed by Christo­pher Bear. Com­pare “Al­li­ga­tor” with the re­make on 2007’s “Friend” EP for a time-lapse of the band’s early evo­lu­tion. 8/10

Yel­low House

The now fourpiece Griz­zly Bear hud­dled in the Cape Cod house of Droste’s mother and drafted the blue­print for their ma­ture sound. It’s sat­u­rated with do­mes­tic warmth – hym­nal singing, dusty patches of pi­ano, banjo and wood­winds, noc­tur­nal “don’t wake the neigh­bours” per­cus­sion. Stand­out track “Knife” cap­tured the early magic mix­ture of Droste and Rossen’s voices. 8/10

Veck­a­timest

The band’s next big step stretched their sound to widescreen ra­tios, with baroque song struc­tures, weaponised full-band har­monies and ar­range­ments for strings and cho­rus by com­poser Nico Muhly. In­deed, there’s some­thing sym­phonic about how the songs use loud/soft dy­nam­ics here, yet scaled down to the in­ti­mate son­ics of folk, beachy pop and pas­toral psych. 9/10

Shields

Griz­zly Bear’s fourth record split the dif­fer­ence be­tween the last two, re­turn­ing to the “Yel­low House” to record and stream­lin­ing the rich aes­thetic they’d mined on Veck­a­timest. As it sac­ri­ficed some of the grandeur and chose a more mea­sured pace, Shields put more of the fo­cus on the ma­tur­ing voices of Droste and Rossen, de­vel­op­ing their own tones within the band’s col­lec­tive bound­aries. 9/10

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