#5 Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins

grizzly bear

Grizzly Bear have conjured up a most intriguing quizzical listening experience with Painted Ruins, their first album of new material in five years. Since their formation in Brooklyn, New York in 2002, Grizzly Bear’s music has become increasingly more and more difficult to define. Over the past 15 years they have been described as everything from experimental atmospheric art rock to neo-psychedelic folk rock. The very fact that much of their music defies most labels is itself perhaps the keenest qualifier of their worth. In an era defined by rigid lines which all too often box artists in Grizzly Bear are neither pop nor rock or EDM or straight up psychedelia. Existing somewhere in-between Grizzly Bear are indicative of the New Rock, a mesmerizingly modern mix of the latest centuries production tech informed by some of the finest elements of what has come before. Although Chris Taylor’s fuzz tone bass work gives much of the record a modern day psychedelic feel popularized by Tame Impala it is an earlier era one must turn to in order to find the true psychedelic heart of this record. Look no further than The Turtles stellar 1968 single You Showed Me (penned by Gene Clark and Roger McGuinn of The Byrds) or perhaps more importantly the baroque chamber pop brilliance of The Zombies masterwork Odyssey And Oracle, also from 1968. Some 50 odd years later Grizzly Bear embark on their scintillating journey through Painted Ruins with “Wasted Acres”, a superb opening that deftly pulls the listener deep into the record setting the tone for what is to come. Things really get cooking at the top of Side C with tracks Aquarian, Cut-Out and Glass Hillside. Like a one-two punch, the final three tracks on the flip of Side D pleasingly wind the album down and play out what remains of a thoroughly engrossing 48-minute long archeological dig through the painted ruins of Grizzly Bear’s fifth record in 13 years. For the finest interstellar aural trip of 2017 Doctors recommend sequentially spinning this record as part of an epic psych trilogy that begins with The Flaming Lips Oczy Mlody and concludes with Dhani Harrison’s In///Parallel, dig?

Rating 8.3/10




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