Damn overachievers. Grizzly Bear are those kids whose parents never let them watch television or drink Coke, the ones who had their homework finished right as they got off the bus and still had time for their Suzuki violin lessons before dinner. The walls of their bedrooms are lined with blue ribbons, award certificates and any matter of plaques and medals, but no one would ever know it, because no one's ever been invited over. They're the quiet kids who stay to themselves, reveling in their reserved genius and leaving the rest of us to wonder just what exactly goes on inside those heads. Veckatimest is their latest A+, another flawless, carefully executed effort to hang on the fridge.
The bombast employed on this collection provides a heady compliment to the relative airiness of 2006's Yellow House. The guitars have gotten fuzzier, the drums are a vivid cannon, and the vocals soar just close enough to the sun to allow the boys to stay adrift on their harmonies. The chunky bottom end of "Cheerleader" is brilliantly offset by the ethereal Brooklyn Youth Chorus, who appear on three of the album's tracks. The Gershwin-aping "I Live With You" is cushioned by lush strings and horns, an honest-to-goodness rhapsody in Brooklyn. Ed Droste's vocals are as pristine as ever, but Daniel Rossen gets to shine a bit on "Fine For Now" - you follow him down to every syllable of the raspy "we're all fal-ter-ing." And though the record slows here and there, the whole set feels complete and is easy to get lost in. It'll take several listens to pick out every calculated detail, but since Veckatimest is an infinitely repeatable affair, it shouldn't be that unpleasant a task.