Thursday, January 17, 2008

Grizzly Bear - Friends EP

Grizzly Bear Friends EP

Grizzly Bear, "Little Brother (electric)" (YSI link)

Grizzly Bear, "Knife (covered by CSS)" (YSI link)

Here's something a little different than our normal fare, the psychedelic folk music of Grizzly Bear. However, when you check out the mix that's coming up next, this one'll make a lot more sense. Anyway, I actually reviewed and liked their debut LP, Yellow House, so when I saw that they were releasing an EP of remixes and B-sides called Friends, my heart when a-flutter, as I love a good remix album.While it isn't quite what I thought it was going to be, as these aren't remixes in the dance music sense, the path they chose is probably better for everyone. Most of the EP is the band reworking their own songs or doing covers, along with 3 covers of Grizzly Bear songs by their friends - CSS, Band Of Horses and Atlas Sound.

For me, it's the first half of the album, the reworking of their originals, that makes this one worth the money. Honestly, the first three songs are a tremendous peak that they don't equal again on the record, although all of the Grizzly Bear stuff is worth a listen. The thing that struck me most was how much I liked the vocals, something that is really important to me when I listen to rock music and that seems to be lacking on a lot of this experimental folk stuff imo. Their cover of the The Crystals/Phil Spector classic "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss)" shows this best, with a tender, almost fragile voice leading the way. "Little Brother" goes electric here and it's a doozy, with similar scratchy falsetto vocals to draw me in. From there, the tracks ebbs and flows, until the final blowout in the last minute and a half. Check for the great guitars on this one, love that sound. Check out this nice review at Pitchfork by Ryan Schreiber, which gives a nice recap of how these songs are different than the originals.

I included the CSS cover of "Knife," to give you a sense of how one of the band's songs was covered. CSS has turned the song into a cool and relaxed electro rock number, not bad, not amazing. Band of Horses do a kinda bizarre, kinda awful bluegrass-y version of "Plans," while Atlas Sound has much more of the space-y, reverbed sound that seems more in line with GB's music and probably works best.

I definitely recommend picking this one up, feel like it might be a touch more accessible than the LP. Grizzly Bear definitely seem to be doing interesting things, taking chances and just generally not acting like every other indie rock band out there.

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