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Grizzly Bear – Yellow House (2006)

Grizzly Bear – Yellow House
Original Release Date: September 5, 2006

I don’t think we’ve posted this one before.

A rather impressive outing from the Grizzlies which appeared on many people’s Top Tens for 2006.

Magical, haunting melodies , delicious ous instrumentation, fine arrangements recorded in a back shed? Yap ….. the making high art out of Lo-Fi!

It’s a rare thing to find a band that counts the glockenspiel, autoharp, banjo, and flute as key instruments, especially when it’s a rock band with just four members. Grizzly Bear use all the above instruments plus another dozen or so to make the 10 floating, gossamer, low-lit tunes that comprise Yellow House. They are rounded edges, off-kilter waltzes (“Lullabye,” which teeters tipsily), laconic vignettes, and even a vintage 1930s waltz written by singer Edward Droste’s great-aunt. The meshwork here is Grizzly Bear’s smarts, a banjo lending fleeting rhythmic hints to a guitar-picked melody (“Reprise”), a haunted piano filling the sonic air with smoke. All four members sing duskily and softly, making a slow-going atmosphere that would delight the great composer Morton Feldman. The brilliance here is that every song mesmerizes, not with aural dominance but with an atmospheric magnetism.

-Andrew Bartlett

I normally don’t do reviews on Amazon, in large part to the fact that most people reading them have already formed their opinion on the item in question. Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House is a prime example of this unfortunate pattern. The chance of an “average” reader wandering into this area without some appreciation for the genre will be rare. However, I was such a reader, so I figured I would give it a shot.

In my opinion, I have not heard anything that comes as close to audio art as Yellow House. It is very clear that the band spent an enormous amount of time and effort polishing each indvidual song, which alone is impressive, but also blended the entire album catalog so the sounds were cohesive, flowing, almost like a long poem. They use a tremendous amount of instruments, fading and editing, and room space to create a haunting and magical atmosphere.

At first listen, what might be mistaken as mild chaos at times will later showcase a tremendous amount of control and management of sound. No doubt layering techniques are used on some tracks, but it’s hard to tell what effects are natural (like playing an instrument far away from the sound stage) versus fabricated at a sound board. Plus, the band is able to reproduce a lot of their sound live; a must for any artist who wishes to be taken seriously.

All pretention aside, I am really glad I found Yellow House. I can enjoy it on so many levels, from playing it in the background of a party, or just mellowing out with the old lady and a good book. If you’re considering buying it or on the fence in your decision, you won’t regret your purchase. This one is going to last you a long time and has a timeless, breathtaking sound.

By Scot McGinn


1. Easier
2. Lullabye
3. Knife
4. Central And Remonte
5. Little Brother
6. Plans
7. Marla
8. On A Neck, On A Spit
9. Reprise
10. Colorado

Big thanks to kutimread

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August 6, 2008 Posted by | Grizzly Bear, Music_Alternative, _MUSIC | Leave a comment