If I’ve discovered anything about myself in listening to so much music the past year, it’s that I can be impatient. I like hooks, I like beats. Get me in and get me out in four minutes. (OK, I’ll give you five or six minutes if your first name is Sufjan.)
So when I popped in Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House – probably in the car or something – it didn’t last but two songs. This has little to do with Grizzly Bear and more to do with my sometimes antsy nature. From the get-go, I could tell listening to Yellow House would not be a mindless activity. This requires physical and mental concentration. Restraint and patience.
Although I’m not entirely familiar with the “freak folk” scene, the band was mentioned in passing in the New York Times article about it, although the guys dispute the story’s description of them. I prefer the label from Gothamist, which described Grizzly Bear’s music as “bewilderock.”
More than any album I’ve come across this year, Yellow House tests my iPod trigger finger. When I feel the urge to flip songs, then I’m oddly compelled to keep listening. There is no traditional verse-chorus-verse safety net to fall into.
Again, this probably says more about my tendencies as a listener than Grizzly Bear as a band, because they’re good. Really, I need more albums like this. Or I need to actually listen to more albums like this. Each song takes awhile to wrap my head around. Plans, for example, offers everything I love in a song: horns, great drums, rhythm. But its scattered approach tends to confuse on first listen and then fall into line with each successive play, much like the album as a whole.