Album: Grizzly Bear, Veckatimest (Warp)

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The Independent Culture

Veckatimest represents a huge step forward from 2006's Yellow House for Grizzly Bear, whose psychedelia-laced folk-rock suddenly seems perfectly of the moment, in the wake of the successes of Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Arcade Fire.

"Southern Point" opens the album on a high, its folksy textures of acoustic guitars, tambourine, dramatic drums and gentle harmonies blossoming gradually, via the addition of piano and strings, into a full-blown Van Dyke Parks-ian antique psych-rock extravaganza. Spiked by sour guitar chording, the quartet's harmonies on "Fine For Now" recall Fleet Foxes and CSN, while on "Two Weeks" the blend of plunking, faux-naive piano and sylvan harmonies is more reminiscent of Smile-era Beach Boys. The closest precedent for "All We Ask" would have to be the original (1960s) Nirvana. As through the album, the overly mannered lyrics appear to sketch a tableau of corroded communication – "I can't get out of what I'm into with you" – which might be alleviated by a more direct mode of address. It's not entirely persuasive – the hushed preciosity of "Dory" is annoyingly smug – but there's enough light here to illuminate the darkest heart.

Download this: "Southern Point", "Two Weeks", "Ready", "Fine For Now", "All We Ask"