Grizzly Bear, ‘Neighbors’ | Track Review
Alternative darlings Grizzly Bear returns strong following a five-year hiatus between albums. “Neighbors” is the fourth single from ‘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.”
“Neighbors” has some truly stunning moments. The opening sounds are radiant. Such sounds recur throughout the course of the record, adding contrast to the acoustic guitar-driven groove. No fret – there are electric guitars as well, not to mention anchoring bass and drums. What’s always impressive to hear from Grizzly Bear is how they combine sounds, creating something that’s distinctly their own, signature sound. Also impressive are the vocals (Ed Droste), which remain top-notch, whether solo or harmonized. Grizzly Bear is always great at establishing a vibe, and “Neighbors” is no different.
Here’s the deal with Grizzly Bear. Sometimes, given the experimental nature and betrayal of the ‘tried and true,’ it’s easy to find yourself confused or hypnotized by the sounds. Maybe that’s the con of “Neighbors.” It takes more than one listen to digest things, even if lyrically, Droste and company aren’t writing the most complex, poetic, or indecipherable lyrics. The two verses are written in similar fashion, while the chorus doesn’t change. Yet still, the awe of the sound is hypnotizing, and Droste’s vocals can end up being more vibe – more of a musical instrument – as opposed to memorable songwriting.
So, with one stretch of a con, how does “Neighbors” stack up? Like the other singles released ahead of Painted Ruins, it would be shocking if the album turns out to be a disappointment. “Neighbors” is another great piece of the pie, which is sugary sweet. Making “Neighbors” even more alluring is a unique, accompanying music video.
Grizzly Bear • Painted Ruins • RCA • Release: 8.18.17
Photo Credit: RCA