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Review: Grizzly Bear Shines on ‘Painted Ruins’

The band that gives the people what they want

Painted Ruins is the first Grizzly Bear album in five years. The 11-track album is a breezy and fun record. Lead singer, Edward Droste spoke to Pitchfork about his thoughts on a new album’s release.

gb“Given that our albums aren’t necessarily like, you listen to it once and you love it, I always want to give an album at least five listens,” Droste recently told Pitchfork. “Because it unfolds upon you. You keep discovering things.”

Droste made a valid point. Upon a second listen to Painted Ruins these ears unearthed more subtle tones and sounds, and it became a more enjoyable listening experience.

The albums kicks off with “Wasted Acres.” It’s a beautiful song with stunning vocals from Droste. The background tempo is slow and seductive. It draws the listener in effortlessly. It’s a great example of a band that truly took their time deciding their track list order. Knowing to start things off with the most intriguing song shows Grizzly Bear’s experience. It pays off for them.

By the fourth track things really pick up with “Three Rings.” It almost accomplishes a “Such Great Heights” by The Postal Service vibe. The track doesn’t copy it, just emulates it enough to create the same atmosphere. It’s a very ear catching song and brings the ante up.

“Losing All Sense” keeps the strong emotion going. This track has a more high tempo 80’s sound to it. It’s a standout without question. It’s one of the few songs that doesn’t necessarily follow the same formula of starting slow and only picking up at the chorus. Ten seconds in and the song is already kicking things into a higher gear.

Painted Ruins closes out with “Systole” and “Sky Took Hold.” The first is a breathy song that relaxes and soothes. It brings the album full circle with the synth-heavy sound from the beginning. “Sky Took Hold” starts on a much more serious note. Before long the song dips into a welcoming chorus. It is the second standout. Anyone listening needs to stay put until the very end.

Grizzly Bear is is going strong after five albums. They’re unique and have mastered their craft. They struck gold in 2009 with the catchiest indie-rock song of the year. “Two Weeks” was a hit and one of their most popular songs to date. The band isn’t attempting to re-create that same magic again. Instead, they’ve created an album with different memorable beats and striking lyrics that prove indie rock is still thriving at it’s finest.


Stream: Grizzly Bear Painted Ruins


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