Artist: Grizzly Bear
And then there was one. Grizzly Bear's Veckatimest was an accomplishment unlike any other in 2009. Bright, haunting and stunningly beautiful at every turn, the album took a band mostly known for experimental folk and put them on the map for good. Even after leaking a full two months prior to its official release, Veckatimest still charted at #8 on Billboard's U.S. charts for the week of May 26th. After that, the accolades just kept on coming for a record that people expected to be good, yet never saw as the masterpiece it would end up being considered as.
What sets Veckatimest apart from the rest of Grizzly Bear's career is its easily-accessible, yet extremely complex musical approach. Taking on chamber pop in a way no one has since its 1960s origins, the band blended folk, indie and psychedelia to form its profound collection of catchy, albeit reserved tunes. Standouts like "Two Weeks" and "White You Wait for the Others" grab listeners without them even knowing it, using Daniel Rossen and Ed Droste's voices and its pseudo-pop delivery to hook you immediately. Each track contains an overwhelming amount of sound, most of which is crammed into a space no larger than five minutes. Still, even with so much activity, it's easy to simply lose yourself in the cerebral sonic landscape Grizzly Bear has created-- a one-of-a-kind experience to be remembered for years.
Best Track: "Two Weeks"
[Previously on Animal Noises: Best Albums of 2009: #2, Animal Collective's Merriweather Post Pavilion]