Tuesday, May 26, 2009
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By MIKE KUNTZ
Daily Arts Writer
The online leak of an album has
become an event in itself. Growing
legions of torrent-savvy listeners
ing for download *
links have made
official release GrizzyBear
dates little more
than aftershocks. Veckatimest
When Grizzly Warp
est leaked in early
March, almost three months prior
to its official release date, principal
songwriter Ed Droste expressed
his discontent not with the failure
to keep the album under wraps,
but with the poor audio quality of
the leaked copy. Considering the
murky state of the industry, it's
refreshing that record sales are
not the primary concern. Droste's
concern with the (internet) pub-
lic's initial impression of the new
album sums the situation up pretty
well: If it's going to leak, it damn
well better sound good.
Bitrates and audiophilic gripes
aside, Veckatimest does sound
good. Really good. Upon the
album's leak, Robin Pecknold of
Fleet Foxes went so far as to con-
gratulate Droste and the band (via
Twitter) for making "the album of
the decade." While this fawning
compliment might be an exag-
geration, Veckatimest is definitely
the strongest collection from the
Brooklyn quartet yet, offering
twelve shimmering and decep-
tively complex tracks that show-
case a band in full collaborative
"Southern Point" starts the
album at a frantic pace, with
From Page 9
ingJulliard. Instead of the moment
ending in a heartfelt kiss, Thomas
pulls away because he sees a group
of black girls approaching. He pre-
tends he doesn't even know Megan
and proceeds to rattle off some
"Every brother knows and has
known the time where if you did
(kiss a white woman) in front of (a
black woman), you would feel the
heat," explained Shawn about the
possibility of the scene occurring
to you /
d acoustic guitar, deft left- cent of Sgt. Pepper's "Being for the
piano lines and co-lead Benefit of Mr. Kite!"
iter Dan Rossen's some- "While You Wait For the Oth-
nysterious lyrics ("You'll ers" is a quick favorite and return
nd me now / But I'll return to form, with a verse-chorus-verse
'When you return to me") repetition that, despite being
ately placing the album familiar, does not undercut what
of familiar territory. is Rossen's best songwriting to
liming Rhodes keyboard date.
f "Two Weeks," one of the The more atmospheric moments
p songs in recent memory. of Yellow House, the band's 2006
by the narcotic howls of release, reappear in the beauti-
House's Victoria Legrand, fully sparse "I Live With You," as
ee other members of Griz- a chamberof cellos quickly evolves
'display their considerable into a cacophony of brass and
lents behind Droste's soul- string instruments behind Bear's
. Add Chris Bear's master- tastefully frenetic drumming. Eas-
ayful drumming and the ily the album's climax, the chaos
s sweeping keyboards and simmers into the humble opening
sults is an endearing and piano strikes on the post-fallout
hingly fresh take on infec- "Foreground" before the choir
)s Motown pop. returns to close the album in gor-
One of the most striking aspects
of Grizzly Bear's sound are the
nasterstr ke dense, often haunting vocal
1darrangements. There are very few
popand folk moments on the album when fewer
)ngvv'rit than two people are singing, lend-
t ' ing ita sonic weight bested only by
full choirs or symphonies.
But Veckatimest is really a sym-
niddle section of the album phony all its own, immersing the
pop simplicity for enchant- listener in a comforting cocoon
lush compositions, with of unfamiliar sounds. It's not sur-
lear and bassist/producer prising, then, that the album's
aylor lending ethereal fal- fitting title (named for an unin-
armonies behind Rossen habited, city-block-sized island
ste's soulful musings. off the coast of Cape Cod) adds
ed in a jazzy 6/8 rhythm, to the feeling of being happily
or Now" is filled with Ros- stranded.
uitar flourishes that keep Desert-island puns aside, Veck-
g sunlit. Dreamy "Cheer- atimest is a masterstroke of exper-
is complete with a girls' imental folk and pop songwriting
string arrangements and and production. Nearly three
woodwinds coloring the months after it was first exposed
'und, while "Ready, Able" to the world, the album continues
carnival churn reminis- to reward.
in real life. "I think things have
kind of calmed down."
Damien Wayans agreed with
the latter sentiment: "I say love is
love. Obama's in office now."
Although the similarities to
the Wayans' earlier projects are
abundant, a new face occupied the
director's chair. Shawn's nephew
Damien is making his directorial
debut with "Dance Flick."
"It was a new energy, a new
experience ... but equally as fun,"
Shawn said. "Also, it was fun
because ... we all wrote together
without a bunch of other people
- just me, my nephews and my
brothers having a good time."
Even in his first film, Damien
sees the value in the Wayans' noto-
rious family involvement.
"It's one of those processes ... you
wishyoucould have allthe time.And
we had a blast doing it," he said.
Their collaborative relationship,
spanning across all facets of the
movie-making process like writ-
ing, directing, producing and act-
ing, is unique in Hollywood.
Shawn explained "We're family
members but yet we're co-workers.
have to) respect that and that's how
we navigate ourselves throughout
"True dat," Damien added.