Consequently a recent posting on the band’s official website of a preview track serves as a statement of intent while also igniting the blue touch paper of anticipation.
‘Sleeping Ute’ crashes from the monitors like a galleon navigating a raging storm. There is a real tempestuous ambiance – variable, volatile. The rhythm negotiates a syncopated 6/8 pattern to a gentle lilt and back – oscillating wildly. Each vocal passage is a brief lull before being overwhelmed by a restless rhythmic tornado of percussion and a squall of panned synths and guitar. “But I can’t help myself” sings Daniel Rossen before succumbing to elements he cannot control. It’s a performance that personifies the wild, unpredictable, sometimes unstable environment of the cluster of peaks within Ute Mountains, Colorado which the title refers to.
The chaotic soundscape points to Animal Collective, but there is also an air of Pink Floyd’s ‘Meddle’ too. And while Rossen clearly has a strong influence on the writing, Grizzly Bear is a collaborative unit that adds flesh to the skeleton and breathes life into the work. Their brilliance lies with their ability to interpret and colour sound. When the lyrics seem deliberately ambiguous the music gives them weight and definition.
The textual change that occurs towards the end alludes to a possible segue into another song. Falling into a nylon-strung acoustic dream, the sound is reminiscent of Rossen’s solo ‘Silent Hour/Golden Mile’ EP. It’s a musical cliff-hanger leaving the listener in suspense, expectant.
Grizzly Bear’s (as yet) untitled album is due for release on 17th September and, although ‘Sleeping Ute’ is only a taste of what’s to come, you can be sure that it will have been more than worth the wait.