Today’s Musical Pairing is best thought of as a “preview” of what will certainly prove to be one of the best albums of the year: Veckatimest, scheduled for a May 26 release, will be the third (and hands down the best) full length by Brooklyn based band Grizzly Bear. Earthy, bright, rich, and complex, it is an appropriate pairing for Kasey’s carrot soup with truffle oil.
A Wikipedia search reveals that Grizzly Bear’s Veckatimest is named after an uninhabited island just off the coast of Massachusetts. This is an interesting title because, at its heart, the album is an exploration in relationship dynamics. For example, the lyrics on nearly every song on the album are about what I did, you did, or we did together and how we relate to one another: “They go, we go, I want you to know, what I did I did” (“Ready, Able”); “I told you I would stay” (“Two Weeks”); “I can’t get out of what I’m into with you” (“All We Ask”); and “You’ll never find me, but I’ll return to you” (“Southern Point”).
The album’s second cut, “Two Weeks,” is a sunny pop song featuring a ghostly, wordless backing chorus flowing around an infectious piano melody. The lurching but upbeat, “Fine For Now,” like many of the other tracks on the album, is simultaneously reminiscent of numerous 60’s era pop tunes, although primarily contemporary in its composition. It is like taking that entire decade’s best pop-rock songs and forcing them through a sonic-prism with the effect of separating genre motifs into fuzzy, ill-defined parts that nonetheless appear cohesive. “Ready, Able” is another highlight: an ethereal, dreamy tune that alternates between an anxious energy and a lazy flow. The entire album is decadently lush and bright, but other notable highlights include “All We Ask,” “Cheerleader,” and my favorite Grizzly Bear track at the moment, the lovely album-closer, “Foreground.”
Stop by Daytrotter to pick up some tracks Grizzly Bear recorded during a Daytrotter Session in 2007, including their cover of He Hit Me (and It Felt Like a Kiss) by the Crystals. The band is currently offering a free download of Cheerleader from Veckatimest.
P.S. Don’t forget to leave a comment on this Pairing (or any other one) for your chance to win the limited edition Iron & Wine CD from Record Store Day.