Music Reviews

Grizzly Bear Friend

(Warp) Rating - 4/10

Grizzly Bear seems to be one of those things where you either get it or you don't. Similar to my reaction to Panda Bear, and for many of the same reasons, I don't. I remember defending Wilco (to myself anyway) against Robert Christgau's lack of patience with their "soundscapes" on Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, because I felt they fit the mood and what they seemed to be saying. Well, Grizzly Bear is another band that relies heavily on atmospherics, but in this case I'm stymied. Maybe it's because the songs aren't that strong or that the glitchiness doesn't seem to serve any purpose, but I find myself tiring of these gimmicks almost as soon as they appear. My guess is that it's because this new EP of guest covers and reworkings is simply somnambulant - read boring.

Sure the cover bands like CSS and Band of Horses breath some life into the collection, but to what end? Band of Horses' country take on Plans does little but reveal the dearth of direction and harmonic interest in the Grizzly's songwriting. Having it devolve into a "soundscape" is as pointless as it is gratuitous.

Ethical admission - this EP is my introduction to Grizzly Bear, who I've read nothing but great things about. I've sampled the back catalogue and I'm no more impressed, but to be so cursory is unfair. All I know is that this thing puts me to sleep, and not in a good way.