Tuesday, June 26th, 2012

Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute

Okay, we’ve had D and G, now where’s APY?


Colin Small: With Passion Pit and Grizzly Bear releasing new music within the same month, I’m reminded of how different 2009 was from 2012. To some extent, Grizzly Bear is following the path that Beach House has recently laid out: keep putting out music that sounds like your other music. That being said, is it that I’ve lost my college sophomore’s thirst for sincerity, or that much of their swelling Romanticism has been replaced with a structure that may have been stolen from Geddy Lee’s desk. I’m really not at all sure where this song begins and ends. Given that the power of Grizzly Bear was once built upon layering, I’m going to have to call this a relatively unsuccessful experiment.

Brad Shoup: Oh good, the long-lost prog record by America. They even do rhythm-jarring clatter with politesse.

Anthony Easton: Can something this nostalgic for rock ambition of the 70s call itself ambitious, and does the attempt to drop contemporary ambiance for the commercial sales of that historic rock and roll make it more or less ambitious? Because I think I like this because it hits the buttons that say ambition to me (see Eric Burdon), but it might not have down that work. 

Alfred Soto: The ear-catching riff notwithstanding, it boasts the kind of “use of space” valued by Talk Talk fans. Eccentricities for pop-hating kids from sixteen to sixty he’s still got — dig those rhythmic and harmonic shifts.

Patrick St. Michel: The best Grizzly Bear songs either embrace simple pop pleasures (“Two Weeks,” “Knife”) or sound so expansive as to make the listener feel tiny (“Southern Point,” “Lullaby”).  “Sleeping Ute” tries to have it both ways, but ends up a muddled affair with a few some decent moments.  Daniel Rossen’s vocals and the guitar cutting through the song are strong points, but the electronic touches add nothing and the snoozer of an outro is a needless structural switch up that makes me feel like hitting “stop” a minute early. 

Iain Mew: I liked “Two Weeks”, but I had trouble explaining why and I now can’t remember how it goes. I don’t really like “Sleeping Ute,” and also have trouble explaining why. I still think of gentle broadsheet-friendly indie as being my music in a way that has survived beyond the point where it’s stopped being the majority of what I listen to. So my inability to get a handle either way on Grizzly Bear (or Fleet Foxes or Bon Iver) bothers me even though I could have a similar reaction to other music and happily settle for calling it dull. Maybe this is just dull. I do like the thunderclap percussion and interplay of guitars, but for all that he’s singing “I can’t help myself” it hits an uneasy midpoint between natural and fantastic that doesn’t succeed as either.

Katherine St Asaph: Starts promising, its guitar riff clawing and clawing forward, but when it comes time to do more, Grizzly Bear opts for more shimmer, not more blues. The arrangement’s still intricate and fascinating; it’s a little bloodless, is all, to be repeating “I can’t help myself.”

Will Adams: Super pretty guitarwork toughened by massive clattering drums. A rough vocal slicked up by a wild synth arpeggio. Three minutes of classic wanderlust folk diverted into an almost otherworldly outro. I can’t decide if this wants me to write a dissertation on the concept of “opposites attract” or blissfully lull me to sleep.

Jonathan Bogart: Prickly waves of plucked acoustic strings running like a cuddlier Harry Partch? Check. Vaguely yearning lyrics sung in the duffest possible voice? Check. No sense of rhythm whatever? Check. They’re baaaaaack.

9 Responses to “Grizzly Bear – Sleeping Ute”

  1. Dirty Projectors, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs… who’s P?

  2. Phoenix.

  3. And I think the A may be Animal Collective, as in this.

  4. Ah right, thanks! I knew roughly where it came from but forgot that Arcade Fire’s last album was 2010. Seemed longer ago.

  5. I had this exact discussion last night.

  6. I have it in my head every couple of weeks or so.

  7. sadness

  8. I must’ve listened to Veckatimest a hundred times when it came out, and even then I couldn’t remember a single note of it in between the listens. This is doing the same thing to me: it’s like a purely neutral substance.

  9. I still rep for “Two Weeks,” but that’s because it has what this lacks: a hook.