Painted Ruins SONY. CD/DL/LP
Major-label debut for slowburning American beauties Far from the aggression or wildness that their name suggests, Grizzly Bear are best defined by “baroque” – which Painted Ruins raises to new heights, a veritable Xanadu of a record. More so than their peers Fleet Foxes, Sufjan Stevens and Father John Misty, Grizzly Bear sound enchanted with the pure pleasure of texture; hooks take their time to emerge, but Mourning Sound (which chimes like Midlake circa The Trials Of Van Occupanther) and Sky Took Hold are the best entry points to this stately, meticulous music. Guitarist Daniel Rossen shares Grizzly fan Jonny Greenwood’s penchant for filmic drama, into which his and Ed Droste’s yearning voices fit hand in glove. Despite plentiful lyrics, there’s no clear polemic; you’d never know subjects include rural morning walks, divorce, hauling firewood and the refugee crisis. But combined, the elements of Painted Ruins suggest that nature is the best solace in crazy times.