Grizzly Bear, ‘Four Cypresses’ | Track Review
Cypress trees never sounded better in the hands of alt-darlings Grizzly Bear on “Four Cypresses,” a single from their new album, ‘Painted Ruins.’
Five-year hiatuses seem to be the rage these days. Why? Not sure. Alternative rock collective Grizzly Bear returns after a ‘beary’ long break with a new album, Painted Ruins. Painted Ruins marks the band’s first album for RCA. Yep, indie going major. Ahead of Painted Ruins, four singles were issued: “Mourning Sound,” “Four Cypresses,” “Three Rings,” and “Neighbors.”
“Four Cypresses” opens up mysteriously. Perhaps unsettling is too strong a characterization, but the listener questions, where is the band going? Soon enough, a groove begins to add clarity, not to mention the entrance of Ed Droste. Melodically, the vocal line is radiant. Vocal harmonization only adds lushness and robustness. The harmonic progression is also lovely. Enigmatic at first, “Four Cypresses” develops superbly musically.
With the music and vocals being top-notch, what is the song about? At the most basic level, Cyprus trees. Assuming that Grizzly Bear isn’t going for a more transcendent message, the song is about cypress trees.
“Instead of moving / You stared into the wall / Tangled up in a pile / It’s early make no sound.”
Later, there’s more about cypress trees.
“Four cypresses seen from a neighbor’s yard / No memory, a future / Drawing down.”
The question is, does the cypress tree represent a person in a broken, hopeless state?
Ultimately, “Four Cypresses” is another solid record from Grizzly Bear. Musically, it’s stunning. Vocally, Droste sounds amazing. Lyrically, it’s simple, yet packs the right amount of poetry. Cypress trees never sounded better.