Release Date: Sep 5, 2006
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Indie, Rock
On their second album (and Warp debut), Yellow House, Grizzly Bear takes a dramatic leap forward, delivering a collection of songs that sound awe-inspiringly huge and intimate at the same time. While the album is overall more polished and focused than their debut, nowhere is this (literally) clearer than in Yellow House's production. Though the artful lo-fi approach Grizzly Bear used on Horn of Plenty -- which sounded like it was recorded on tapes that had been moldering away in musty cupboards, or gradually dissolving underwater -- was extremely evocative in its own way, Yellow House's warmth, clarity, and symphonic depth gives Grizzly Bear's widescreen psychedelic folk-rock a timelessness that makes it seem even more dreamlike and unique.
Grizzly Bear have grown from one man, Edward Droste, in a bedroom to a four-piece band - and their second album soars over the high bar of expectations set by their 2004 debut, Horn of Plenty. The psychedelic hues of their rustic folk have turned vivid, especially on shimmering opening track Easier, with banjo, acoustic guitar, wind and brass instruments enlisted alongside subtle electronica. The lo-fi has gone large-scale, each song slowly unfurling to reveal dense, dreamy rhythms, choirs of silky voices and opulent melodies rich in atmospherics.
Yellow House is another one of those records that demonstrates that “exquisite,” indeed, “painstaking” production can be found at either end of the economic spectrum. Grizzly Bear’s first album, Horn of Plenty, was a home-recorded album that became something of an overnight success story in 2005, selling well based on strong word of mouth and then getting reissued along with an album full of remixes (which, you know, may be the ultimate sign that you’ve arrived). After signing to Warp earlier this year, Grizzly Bear has stuck with the home-recording tack: their second album, Yellow House, was recorded in the living room of “a yellow house just off Cape Cod,” according to their official bio.