Grizzly Bear is one of those groups that just can’t be compared. They are impeccably talented, sometimes almost too much so, sending chills down your bones with their instrumentation and vocal arrangements. They recently released their first album since 2012 and it is truly a work of art. The new album Painted Ruins, deserves your ears and conversely, your ears deserve it. This is the type of music that demands to be listened to multiple times with a nice pair of headphones. This ain’t no popcorn or pizza that you scoop handfuls of into your mouth because you know what it tastes like. It’s more of a fine delicacy paired with a red wine that melts in your mouth and takes thought and time to meld into your brain. I’m not saying this music doesn’t taste good at first bite though, it sure as hell does.
If you only know of Grizzly Bear from their insanely popular hit, “Two Weeks,” and you loved it, then, “Mourning Sound,” is going to be your peanut butter and jam. It comes in with an upbeat tempo and cheerfully bright guitars that hum in and out. Those signature smooth vocals really keep the song together. This is one for mornings, chilling with your mimosa or java. It’s a song for parties and brewskies. Really, it’s a song for everything.
Grizzly Bear is as polished and intricate as ever. Their music moves like a blurry photo whisking through your mind. It takes one shape and then another, evoking imagery and color behind your eyelids if you listen closely. “Four Cypresses,” reminds me of a colorful old sweater. I have no idea why. The music is itchy and rustic like you found a treasure at the local goodwill and you’re trying to be a trendsetter in an old world. There isn’t anything wrong with that of course. I have the urge to listen more and more because of how much there really is to see in this project.
The drums and percussion on this album are unlike any other. They delicately keep time on some of the tracks all the while forming the glue that meshes this extremely layered album together. On the song, “Three Rings,” I was in awe of the spectrum the music traverses. It’s as if you were traveling through space and time in a ship made from glimmering goodness. Its soulful melodies paired with their heartfelt lyrics really hit home for me.
I wanna show you my best side
I wanna be the guy who’s right
I want you to see things clearly
I wanna make it alright
This is a thick album. I’m just gonna say it: THICK. The songs are chewy like a damn Charleston Chew stuck in your teeth. Every listen you hear a new sound formed that tickles your earlobes like a koala bear nibbling on honeysuckle. I think they eat honeysuckle… Don’t just take my word for it. I encourage you to pop this album in and listen to it back again after a short time. You will find so much more than what you heard the first time, and I think you’ll end up adding the majority of it to a slew of playlists.
Give yourself an experience, put some nice headphones on and listen to this incredible work of art from a prolific group of musicians.