Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest
I hope you had a great weekend.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the new Grizzly Bear record. It strikes me as being an important release. I am tempted to call it "timeless." At the very least, I get the feeling that the band was attempting to create an honest and lasting piece of art.
In fact, it seems to be an album about time. Or about the passing of time. And, of course, love. The futility of time in the face of love. Time is inescapable, except to love. The word "time" appears in several of the songs, and in others, the lyrics seem to suggest the past or future. (If I had the lyrics here in front of me, I would write them out for you.) It is funny that the word "time," is even hidden in the album's title, Veckatimest, which is the name of a small, uninhabited island on Cape Cod. And you know how time can seem lost in such a place. I am listening now, and I can tell you this much:
There was time, it took time
There is time, so much time
There is time, so much time
The package itself is worth the twenty dollars. William O'Brien can be thanked for the mesmerizing artwork: hand-drawn geometric shapes made distinct by such soothing, exquisite colors. I love it. The theme is continued on the labels of each LP. And each side of the two inner sleeves is a different, complementary color. You'll want to hold the sleeves in your hand as you listen to the music so that you can be transported into these blissful, quiet fields, allowing the world around you to blur into auburn and hazel. You can visit the band's website to get an idea.
Also included is a full-color, heavy-stock, 12-page book of photographs which seem to document the band's experience with recording Veckatimest. On one page, you see the band walking along some rocky paths (are they on the island?), and on another page, you see a tangle of cables, silent effects pedals, keyboards, mixers.
While the music has a sort of sunshine to it, the songs feel autumnal. But don't be confused: Veckatimest is not a decline, but a rise. These are pop songs of the most ambitious sort. I don't know what this music is. The band blends so many sounds and eras and inspirations. There is soul and a kind of avant-folk, I guess, in a Fleet Foxes kind of way with such painfully beautiful voices, but there is also some psychedelic rock and perhaps even a touch of something you might call "prog," but I don't know about that. There are glistening guitars and swooshing synths and enormous vocal harmoniesdivine vocal harmonies, ghostly vocal harmoniesand skittering rhythms and adventurous arrangements. There is a string section and there is the Brooklyn Youth Chorus, conducted by the young and talented Nico Muhly.
There's no time to go through the designs we know
Veckatimest was recorded in three separate locations: the Glen Tonche house in upstate New York, a house in Cape Cod, and a church in New York City. Engineer Chris Taylor traveled from place to place with his recording gear. The sound is excellent and true. Greg Calbi did the final mastering.
I wonder if you can tell me what this album sounds like. I'm making a copy for JA, too, because I think he needs to hear it. Perhaps you'll tell me that I'm wrong about this album, that it's been done before and better. I'd like to know. I'd like to go deep into this album. For now, I think it's something that I'll love for a long, long time.