Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

POP MUSIC REVIEW

Grizzly roams a wide territory

February 23, 2007|Steve Hochman | Special to The Times

It's rare anymore for a band to do anything truly surprising, given how many bands there have been since the dawn of the modern pop era. But the four members of Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear managed a surprise in just their second song at the Troubadour on Wednesday: For "Showcase," they played like a rock band. You know -- two guitars, bass, drums and vocals.

Well, it was a surprise given the avoidance of such conventionality on the band's two albums, especially the recent "Yellow House." But fear not. The very next song, "Lullabye," involved autoharp, glockenspiel, flute, clarinet and a lot of musical space, delicate and atmospheric, then dissonant and then exploding into the grandeur of Pink Floyd at its most majestic.

Following a bracing set by Los Angeles quartet Foreign Born, evoking the reach and power of early Echo and the Bunnymen, Grizzly Bear dazzled and, yes, surprised with regularity, fashioning an ever-shifting, always enticing landscape of voices and sounds. The series of mini-suites and pastiches regularly touched on the Beach Boys circa "Pet Sounds," the Beatles of "Abbey Road," the exotica of the Buckleys (both Tim and Jeff) and the weirdness of the Residents, sometimes all at once as in the sweet and disturbing, otherworldly version of the 1962 Crystals/Phil Spector oddity "He Hit Me (And It Felt Like a Kiss)."

Throughout, co-leaders Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen, drummer Chris Bear and multi-instrumentalist Chris Taylor blended their voices in shimmering cascades that sounded, at times, like medieval motets arranged by Brian Wilson -- with Wilson's sometime-collaborator and Grizzly Bear role model Van Dyke Parks looking down from the balcony approvingly. But the music consistently transcended the touchstones. For Grizzly Bear, honoring past heroes is not about sounds, it's about spirit.

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|