In 2017, there seems to be two kinds of pop. You have chart pop, the thumping bumping beats that get any Student Night party started, and then you have dream pop (or art rock if you prefer), the slow wishy-washy sound in the distance, that you might hear on BBC Radio 6, or at a party for yourself and no one else. But aren’t those parties the best? At least with a Grizzly Bear album they are.
Painted Ruins as a title perfectly encapsulates everything about Grizzly Bear’s latest, from the sound to the themes in which they convey. Track titles feel desolate, titles such as ‘Wasted Acres’ and ‘Glass Hillside’, yet the music is anything but. Layers of sound create those wishy-washy dreams, the lyrics softly creating images which can feel a little bleak, a little lost, allowing the listener to drift along until any emotional weight is necessary to move things along. These moments are often accompanied by the stirring of guitars. ”It’s chaos, but it works”.
As a whole it is coherent, full of life despite singing about the impending absence of it, and it even sounds a little bit like Blur on the track with all the hooks ‘Losing All Sense’. It’s the bouncy guitars in the opening that do it. From sweeping landscapes to a Blur-like, Grizzly Bear can do it all. Lie back on your carpet, that’s your personal dance floor, then wiggle and groan as you let the wishy-washy dream pop (art rock) take hold.