|Grizzly Bear / Painted Ruins|
|Add Date:||2017-09-08|| ||Pull Date:||2017-11-10|| |
|Week Ending:||24 Sep||17 Sep||10 Sep|
After a five-year hibernation, Grizzly Bear returns, and they haven’t lost anything in the downtime. Despite their claims that they were going in a “more adventurous” direction with the new album, Painted Ruins is still very much a Grizzly Bear album, although it appears the old bear has learned a few new tricks. This is not a lo-fi affair—certainly not in the way that their debut, Horn of Plenty was—but the use of distortion and fuzzy synthesizers makes this album feel a little more rough around the edges than its predecessors. The songs kind of melted together in a blur of prettiness after a while, but it’s hard to argue when they sound this good.|
Favorites: 2, 3, 4, 8, 9
1) “Wasted Acres” (2:52) – A Vangelis-style synthesizer hums in the back, behind a lush mix of orchestration and clean guitar. It’s a short and gentle reintroduction to the band.
2) “Mourning Sound” (4:22)* – Brisk song driven by steady percussion and Edward Droste’s and Daniel Rossen’s clear, full vocals. Buzzy guitar riffs and choral backing vocals add some color to the song.
3) “Four Cypresses” (4:48)* – A militaristic drumbeat forms the backbone of the first half of this song. At about the halfway point, the song picks up the pace and adds some distorted guitar chords, but Grizzly Bear—always impeccably composed musicians—never really cut completely loose.
4) “Three Rings” (4:49)* – Lo-fi beat knocking around in the background, complex drumming in the foreground. Song is fleshed out by swirling synthesizers and looping guitar arpeggios.
5) “Losing All Sense” (5:06) – Grizzly Bear had hinted that they were going in a “more adventurous” direction a few years before Painted Ruins was released, and...I guess you could say this is Grizzly Bear trying their hand at krautrock? There’s repeated piano chords and percussion, featuring some twinkling synths and stabs of distorted guitar.
6) “Aquarian” (4:18) – The rhythm section puts in work here—distorted bass riff, stuttering drumbeats. The last minute of the song quiets down for a leisurely guitar solo.
7) “Cut-Out” (3:46) – A quieter number that rolls along on a slinky drumbeat and a circular bass motif. At least, “quieter” until the song builds to a noisy crescendo after the halfway point.
8) “Glass Hillside” (4:54) – Well, this is new; this song starts with an acoustic guitar, then folds in modulated guitar lines and pixelated synthesizers. It’s a softer number that drifts along in a psychedelic haze.
9) “Neighbors” (4:44)* – Another primarily acoustic song with a jangly guitar riff. Some horns and woodwinds can be heard weaving in and out of the song, but it’s largely in the vein of the rest of this album—warm, overdriven guitar and steady percussion.
10) “Systole” (3:16)* – If “Losing All Sense” was Grizzly Bear’s version of krautrock, then “Systole” sees them go psychedelic soul. Choral vocals and fingerpicked acoustic guitar wrap the listener in their warm, fuzzy sound.
11) “Sky Took Hold” (5:33) – The album’s closer is its longest song, and in some ways its most unsettling. Distorted horns buzz deep in the background, behind bristling guitar chords. Last minute of the song dissolves in a pool of yawning synthesizer tones.