Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear makes music that feels like a visit to a thrift store--while you're fully aware that you're in the 21st century, surrounding you are hints of lives and eras past. Yellow House's loops and electronic warbles and flourishes are clear indications that this is a band fully ensconced in the technology and methodology of modern times, but there's a vintage feel to the 10 songs that constitute this elegant new album. Edward Droste's breathy vocals lead verses that often unfurl into four-part harmonies, over a musical bed of softly layered acoustic guitars occasionally abetted by a pounding drum trot, as on the excellent "Lullabye." The record never gets bogged down in melodramatic cues, instead creating a genuine soundscape of feeling and texture. Grizzly Bear lends an experimental slant to what is essentially traditional songwriting, not unlike the similarly minded (and named) Animal Collective. As Warp wisely continues to expand its roster with forward-thinking rock signings, shoring up its already formidable avant-electronic arsenal, Grizzly Bear nonchalantly leads the pack. From the '50s rock of "Knife" to the Beatles-with-banjos folk of "Little Brother," Yellow House subtly and delicately joins the ranks of this year's top contenders.
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