Painted Ruins (Preview) – Grizzly Bear 2017

Art associated with Three Rings single

RECOMMENDThe music business has progressed well beyond the days of proper singles, followed by full albums releases. back in the day, labels would concoct prolong release schedules for singles in a bit to keep radio programmers and audiences interested it new music. The magical three good song mark was where I drew the line in deciding if a album was worth owning. The problem then was that you could never tell if an album was worth having until after you put down your hard earned money.

The internet has turned that formula on it’s head.

Today many indie bands like Tame Impala have released as many as four songs before the actual full length album was available. The digital distribution model makes it possible to leak tracks early to gauge interest before final release.

It’s only three songs, barely enough to qualify as an old school EP, but the preview of Grizzy Bear’s August 2017 release Painted Ruins is loaded with promise. It has already passed my 3 good song threshold. For one, the band who’s last LP Sheilds raised the bar significantly for all of Daniel Rossen’s projects including his other band Department of Eagles, is one of the year’s most anticipated indie rock albums.

Starting in May of 2017 a series of tracks were released, each suggesting a new direction and evolution of the Grizzly Bear Sound. The first of them “Three Rings”, recalled later Death Cab For Cutie. It’s structure with a tight drum track and ominous background rhythms retains the familiar baroque gloom but with fresh twist.

The second track “Morning Sound”, released shortly after “Three Rings” was more of a conventional sounding pop song. It’s bright almost upbeat pace is a departure from the tone of typical of Grizzly Bear/Daniel Rossen tracks. It even features a keyboard solo that sounds like a processed version of the eerie ambiance of something that could have come off of Veckatimest or Shields. More importantly it highlights Ed Droste more confident vocals, especially in the pop styled chorus where he reaches a higher registry than usual.

The last and maybe final per-release single, “Four Cypresses” is the largest departure from the established Grizzly Bear Sound. Like “Three Rings”, “Four Cypresses” has a tight percussion and moves even closer to a Death Cab For Cutie like sound. Ed Droste’s voice has never sounded better, he’s even gained a bit of emotive soul. Combined with the hypnotic marching beat and ominous background, “Four Cypresses” is the best of the three tracks.

This per-release has established a lot of buzz and excitement amoungst fans of Grizzly Bear. I for one can’t wait until the August 18th release date. Something tells me the best is yet to come.


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