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Album Review: Grizzly Bear – Painted Ruins

2 min read
Photo: Toast Press

They may be scattered across the US, but the psychedelic Grizzly Bear have found their way back to each other to perfect their 5th studio album, Painted Ruins, before they embark on their tour across Europe and North America in October.

Opening the album we have the hazy Wasted Acres.  The lyrics are lazily drawled over the mellow music.  The panning in the track is a daze, trapping you in a delirious state as if you’re half asleep.

The haze is pierced by mechanical raindrops in Four Cypresses.  The comforting patters, enchanting voice, and melodic guitar contrast against the almost military style drumming, in a world where there’s “chaos but it works.”  The song will make you feel like you’re tumbling down the rabbit hole with Alice on the way to Wonderland.

Our journey through Grizzly Bear’s own wonderland continues with the bizarre music in Losing All Sense.  At times, the music can sound like a distorted version of the UK’s ska band, Madness, but Grizzly Bear’s lyrics strike a deeper chord, advising “take the past, own your scars, let is show.”

The dreamy state is overtaken by a nightmare in Aquarian.  The ominous music is underlined with a menacing bassline, instantly making this a perfect fit for a zombie apocalypse film.  It might be best to avoid playing this one before bed, lest the zombies get you in your sleep.

The mood becomes melancholic in Neighbours, with Ed Droste’s hypnotising voice singing “with every passing day our history fades away.”  The pining music reflects this sense of loss, yet the harmonies create a spark of unity even in this despair.

Some albums you can just have on in the background, but Painted Ruins is worth so much more.  Grizzly Bear will set you off on a journey into a warped dreamland and leave your mind spinning by the end.