Grizzly Bear: Veckatimest

Earlier this year, Eyewear predicted that 2009 would prove to be a superior annum for popular music. There have been dozens of exciting releases since January - but one, half-way through the year, stands out for me, so far - Veckatimest, from East Coast hepcats Grizzly Bear. They've been heralded by some critics as the new Vampire Weekend, or even Fleet Foxes - which is all wrong, but close, in that it expresses the fact they're young, interested in sophisticated sounds, and genuinely fresh.

However, this album's sonic influences (why do we always cite influences now?) are more intriguingly confused and far-flung: The Doors, Steely Dan, composer John Adams, post-50s experimental Jazz, and of course, The Beach Boys by way of The Beatles. That makes the album sound either a little obvious, or perhaps outlandish. Instead, it's beautiful, complex, and at least for now, ever-renewing to the ears. It's one of those rare albums you can listen to intently, savouring each smart shift in tone, or keep on in the background as easy-listening. I highly recommend it. It'll be in my top 10 end of the year, and, if it wears as well as I suspect it will, may even come first.
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