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Boomkat Product Review:
So it's time for the 'other' Brooklyn band to throw their fashionable trucker caps into the ring. You see there are really only two Brooklyn bands at this game and one of those is already responsible for possibly the stand-out record of 2009 - I'm talking about Animal Collective of course. Grizzly Bear can never shy away from comparison with their esteemed peers, but luckily this album is just incredibly good, bettering their scene-defining 'Yellow House' in just about every way. Their previous album managed to appeal to teenage hipsters and old musos alike, but where that record drifted into the avant-folk sound, 'Veckatimest' is far more assuredly 'rock'. That's not to say that the band have lost any of their experimental edge - far from it; with Nico Muhly in tow adding his subtle orchestral arrangements and help from Beach House vocalist Victoria Legrande they haven't gone fully mainstream. The album is gorgeously recorded, with all the reel-to-reel hiss and bouncing reverb you'd expect from a classic late-60s recording - it almost sounds as if the wider Arcade Fire ensemble went into the studio with Brian Wilson and dubbed the result to 1/2" tape. There's a sense of scope to the album that is rarely heard in modern songwriting - the sweeping bliss of 'Cheerleader', the ambitious jump-cut of opener 'Southern Point' or the stunning Gallic-spy movie stylings of 'Ready'. Really this is a record that has to be enjoyed over a series of detailed listens, a record that has so many facets that it's difficult to reveal them all at once. 'Veckatimest' is an ambitious and powerful album, and one that is sure to end up in the upper half of the 'best of 2009' lists at the end of the year. Maybe finally they'll shake off that Animal Collective comparison once and for all? Amazing stuff.