Wednesday, October 30, 2013

"Listen and Wait"- Grizzly Bear

A great trick of Grizzly Bear's output (particularly on the twin peaks of Veckatimest and last year's Shields) is their ability to cleverly recast their folksy-origins as arena-ready stompers. Drums frequently thunder and basses rumble, but underneath that raging exterior exists a carefully considered beauty. Where those brash instruments come and go as they please (like inconsiderate troubadours), ragged acoustic guitars remain long after the lights have been turned off. Pianos play for no one, ringing out of a haunted house.

"Listen and Wait" from the forthcoming Shields B-Sides album retains this great sleight-of-hand. A jaunty piano part and enjoined vocal figure enjoy their surroundings for 8 seconds before a cavernous drum slams the door on the proceedings. Admonishments to keep "careful" fight for space with a rippling synthesizer background. What registers as a bike-bell futilely attempts to escape the dark monsters cued by the rhythm section. Grizzly Bear's pastoral beauty and childlike-innocence is framed within the larger context of a decaying landscape. By the end, the artifice disappears and what once seemed a magnificent structure reveals itself to be a dilapidated building with a fresh coat of paint.

The Shields Expanded and Shields B-Sides editions are out 11/12 through Warp.


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