The Nugget

Grizzly Bear: Painted Ruins Album Review

Aase Hahn, Guest Writer

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The first time I heard the most recent Grizzly Bear album, Painted Ruins, released on August 18, 2017, I was immediately intrigued. Though the signature sounds of the band are still identifiable within this album, it has an exceptionally unique sound compared to their previous works. The sounds of each track on this album are clearly different, but mesh together to make an album filled with layers upon layers of unique sounds.

The first track “Wasted Acres” seemed to welcome me into the psychedelic, multifaceted experience that the album provides, followed by “The Mourning Sound”, a light-hearted song with a steady beat, groovy chords, and a bridge that had me singing along with little to no memorization necessary. As I continued to listen to the album, songs like “Aquarian”, “Neighbors”, and “Losing All Sense” engulfed me entirely with their powerful, resounding melodies. Each of these songs reminded me of the ocean, crashing and then becoming still with an occasional quiet lap against the sand, or in this case, against my eardrum. On the other hand, songs like “Glass Hillside”, “Cut-Out”, and “Neighbors” take a slower approach, but do not lack power.  

Overall, this album is a standout and one that I never get bored listening to. I enjoy the uniqueness of each song and how they each tell different stories and include sounds that I had no idea could work so well together. My favorite part of this album is that I unlock a new layer to the songs each time I listen to them. I am continually impressed at the numerous dimensions that these songs transport me to, even if the new parts that I hear are as miniscule as the drop of a pin. Anyone that loves music with depth and singularity will thoroughly enjoy this album; however, I would recommend this to anyone open to a different listening experience.

On a more personal level, music has been a large part of my life for as long as I can remember and the music of Grizzly Bear has been played in my house since the release of their first album in 2004. While all seven of the band’s albums are equally special and unique in their own way, Painted Ruins provides an incredibly exclusive look into a world of sound and iridescence. It is complex, beautiful, and reaches far beyond a first listen.

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