In indie circles, "Veckatimest" has easily been one of the most anticipated albums of the year so far. Not only does it have to follow up Grizzly Bear's highly acclaimed 2006 album "Yellow House" but also has to live up to declarations that it's the best thing since Animal Collective's "Merriweather Post Pavilion" and Fleet Foxes' eponymous debut. So, does it live up to the hype? Not quite, but it's still pretty darn good.
Continuing in their usual vein of lo-fi off kilter alt-folk tunes, "Veckatimest" has something "Yellow House" didn't - sharp hooks. Though they're heavily outweighed by the casual, sauntering pace, the pulsating piano and Beach Boys style ooohs of "Two Weeks" and the shuddering guitar and rising polyphonic break of "While You Wait For The Others" provide enough in their brief bursts of intense excitement to punctuate and vary this record.
Though the rest of "Veckitamest" may be more atmospheric in approach, it is elegantly arranged and deftly thought out at every turn. Soaring harmonies, delicate guitars and articulate drums create an intimacy that is further heightened by soft yet evident reverberation, while the soft horns of "Cheerleader" and eerie sway of "Dory" evoke a sense of tenderness and vulnerability.
"Veckitamest" may be somewhat subdued and self-effacing at times, but it's an enchanting return for Grizzly Bear all the same.