Lions, Tigers, and Grizzly Bear, oh my!
Read senior Peter McStravick's article for The Crusader.
There is something about the experimentation of soft spokenness in music that has acquired much public attention and persuasion in recent years. One could say that it portrays the disintegration of musical expression today, barely scraping enough energy to relay wisdom through short cries of minimalism. Is this the reason why the singer-songwriter remains vastly popular in a sea of boy-bands and Ga-Gas? In fact, most bands’ derivatives are the infamous singer-songwriters that we all glorify. With his initial release of For Emma, Forever Ago, Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver) brought people to tears just by raising an eyebrow. Was it his misery that brought perspective to the rest of us? Perhaps. But, to be a continued art form in an independent music scene, there must be some strange reasons for why are attached to this concept. At the peak of this recently generated style is Grizzly Bear, who recently released their third full-length album entitled Shields. Receiving lots of attention for their popularized hit “Two Weeks,” Grizzly Bear entered the scene a few years and gathered a large following. What makes this band so appealing as a listener when they work with dissonance, awkward chord progressions, and unusual instruments? Lets find out.
Grizzly Bear, born out of Brooklyn, has discovered a new recipe for “the indie band” out there. We are no longer in a period of punk rockers from your uncle’s basement or the pop-infused celebration rock, but a time of exploration and experimentation. Grizzly Bear uses lots of similar instruments as most bands: you have your standard guitars, drums, bass, vocals, even a piano, but then come along many synthesizers, oboes, cellos, hurdy gurdies, banjos, and many other instruments which include some homemade ones. Some peculiar way, they have implemented all of these into the finely acquainted rock band’s sound, mixed with the fleeting yet muffled vocals of Ed Droste, the band’s creator and frontman. Droste occasionally whispers into his microphone, for a very light effect over the orchestrally mixed sound of his band. The layers and loops of plucked strings, running bass lines, and a driving drum patterns (sometimes arrhythmically) control your music palate; there is almost no precise reason why this unusually tasteful style has found its way into your library. On paper, it looks like a circus. In your earphones, it’s a soundtrack to your life.