June 6, 2012

Song Review: Grizzly Bear's "Sleeping Ute"

In the recent review for Liars' WIXIW, AwkwardSound boldly stated the Los Angeles noisemakers deserve the idolship as the past decade's best band based on their evolutionary-minded contributions to experimental rock, yet on the the lighter-sounding side of the former Radiohead tourmate spectrum, fellow Brooklyn-born artists Grizzly Bear are artfully doing just the same by coersing pop music undertones into avant aspirations onto their palette. "Sleeping Ute" is the first preview off their as-yet-to-be-titled fourth LP due out on September 18th via Warped, and it's a swerve of a listen that finds the indie rock quartet delivering crackling jaggedness and colorfully-crafted vibrancy in place of where the soft moments usually go. Give credit for that to the band's primary guitarist Daniel Rossen. We've been exposed to his sort of rigid six-stringing before on the climactic moments of Veckatimest standouts "While You Wait for the Other" and "Cheerleader," but it's not so common for Grizzly Bear to focus a rich helping of chomping rock layers into their sound for a majority of the song ("Two Weeks" may be its only rival, but the Ed Droste-led listens also tend to make the most out of softly bending pop melodies.) So what are the rest of the guys doing while Rossen steals the spotlight by clashing crickety riffs against Chris Bear's white wash of cymbals? There's fluttering keys a minute and a half in that manage to wrangle in some of that frenetic momentum, but it only holds up until the 2:45 mark where a broken bottle lets the multi-instrumental fight ensue once again. Rossen takes a juxtaposed breather in "Sleeping Ute"'s final moments, but it's hard to come down to his level after he and the rest of Grizzly Bear just rattled your brain. You may not hear any drastic core style shifts from the Brooklyn rockers here, but "Sleeping Ute" sure sounds like Grizzly Bear are wide awake and aware of the instruments at their disposal more than ever.

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