Grizzly Bear – Yellow House

26 Jun

In the middle of the woods, somewhere no one has ever set foot, sits a Yellow House. A place of serenity and a place of magic, it is only inhabited by the souls of people who yearn to escape. Wooden and dusty, it was furnished during a time long ago, when posterity borrowed its thoughts. Cut off from peering eyes, it is open only to you, a space so relative you cannot even place the feel of the wooden floorboards under your feet.

You may have heard of the Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear’s newest album Vekatimest. The name may have confused you, but you saw them on the David Letterman show and the poppy music intrigued you. You may have even bought (borrowed) the album and have since happily listened to its mystery.

*Puts on Hipster Glasses*

Well, I listened to Grizzly Bear before they blew up. Let me simply tell you now that their previous LP is one of the most mind blowing pieces of music ever. Their newest album strayed way too far and struggled to maintain the beauty of its predecessor whilst tackling the face of pop culture. It still turned out to be a very nice album, but today we focus on the pure musical serenity that is Grizzly Bear’s Yellow House.

I will start you off with the single. Knife, being the most approachable songs on the album. It features one of the most confusing music videos you will ever watch.

The song starts off with a slow and ghostly guitar riff. Try to imagine a sunny, yet haunted beach, where people go about doing the same thing forever, like on replay. The vocals are just the perfect brand of pop to make even the most hardcore magic user smile. The slow beat is just perfectly reminiscent of those unbearable summer days where simply walking down the street is putting oneself at risk of melting.

As the verse ends, a brisk guitar riff transitions the song like a cool breeze. But as quickly as it comes, it departs, leaving you again vulnerable to the sun. The vocals here are particularly amazing, the kind that ask you to remain calm as it is actually the ‘cool thing’ to be melting.

When that part ends a drumstick beat ushers in the main lyric. “Can’t you feel the knife?” It leaves you utterly shocked and confused as you scramble to figure out where you have been stabbed. But the song floats on as if it was just kidding about the knife part, hoping you will enjoy the rest of the song in peace. A nice touch of that 60’s psychedelic mind-trickery.

The extended ending is very soothing, just in case the knife part is still bugging you out. An interesting beat coaxes on piano notes, which wistfully echo a sweet tune.  The both of them remind you that you were actually inside a yellow house the entire time.

The last song on the album, my absolute favorite, is Colorado. It opens similarly to how Knife ended. This time though the beat is a low thumping kick and the piano notes are lower pitched and unevenly distanced.  The vocals fade in mid-sentence, unintelligible yet mystic. They eventually begin chanting “Colorado” in an almost confused manner, as if the state was the only thing responsible for some unknown misfortune

I am particularly fond of the use of many different forest-esque noises throughout the beginning. It makes me feel like I am sitting by some mountain lake somewhere in Colorado watching nature evolve in circles.

The drums drop in a very easy jazz beat which quickly grows on you. The song begins to build up, as the singer switches to asking “Now what?” A very nice and minimalistic guitar solo occurs and again “Colorado” is chanted.

The song builds and builds and finally just stalls, but only in the most brilliant way. The simple slow bass kick remains and a mysterious woodwind instrument transitions into one of the most epic drops my ears have ever heard.

Just the sound of the guitar. I am not sure what kind of effects or amps are being used, but the result sounds like pure gold. Combined with the piano and the drums, they together paint a ridiculously vivid picture. The vocals return, layered over one another and the entire song climaxes so high that any magic user would be thrown into an amazing upbeat state for a long after it’s over. And trust me, it’s a great feeling. You definitely don’t even need magic.

These two snippets of the album Yellow House definitely give you an idea for the entire album. A couple of the songs are a little bit hard to get into at first, but that is mainly due to fact that they are very slow. Not that the entire album is compromised of rather slow moving songs, but it definitely can take some time to learn to appreciate that kind of music. Also keep in mind that a bunch of the songs start out slow, but pick-up halfway in magnificent fashion.

Now my music player shows the genre of this album as rock, but if I had to label them I would most definitely go with Psychedelic-Folk, give or take the rock. If this is something you are into then most definitely listen to this album. You will not regret it. And if you don’t believe me on the folk part, then listen to the song I will post at the end.

And if you find yourself in a Yellow House at any point while listening to this album, you’re doing it right.



P.S. Here ya go folks. This song has probably one of my more favorite lyrical lines. Enjoy.

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