Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Grizzly Bear/

  • Yellow House [Warp, 2006] Choice Cuts
  • Friend EP [Warp EP, 2007] Dud
  • Veckatimest [Warp, 2009] C+

Consumer Guide Reviews:

Yellow House [Warp, 2006]
"On a Neck, on a Spit," "Reprise" Choice Cuts

Friend EP [Warp EP, 2007] Dud

Veckatimest [Warp, 2009]
Nomenclature niggle: not "chamber pop." Serving up two kinds of genteel escape, pastoral and aesthetic, this is chamber folk-rock--or, less kindly, folk-prog. From the Beach Boys on down, chamber pop is about tune and hook embellishment. These guys are in it for the atmosphere. There are vaguer lyrics out there, but the reason the band's claque is gaga for the line "We'll swim around like two dories" isn't how evocative the image is (it isn't, which should count for something), but the extra squeeze of choirboy tight-ass Daniel Rossen pretties it up with. Applied to the straightforward "Deep Blue Sea" on Dark Was the Night, their skilled playing remains modest enough, but on this subtler and more pretentious material, the skills predominate, and just in case they don't, let's add a string quartet here and real choirboys there. Plus, they still hum. Less than last time, but a lot. C+