My sophomoric college self is crying with joy right now. That green, slightly shorter and less-devastated-by-student-loan-debt woe version of myself has been waiting since 2009 for Grizzly Bear, one of the greatest American bands today, to release another album. Finally, Grizzly Bear has announced a new album, so far unnamed, set for a release date of September 18th. Until that day they have left us with the opening track of the album “Sleeping Ute”.
The track begins with a very clear Led Zeppelin influence (“Achilles Last Stand” Led Zeppelin, not “Good Times Bad Times” Led). This lasts for about thirty seconds before very distinctive, very familiar Grizzly Bear tones enter (in addition to what sounds like a spaceship in the background, which reminds me of the “Ready, Able” music video in which Grizzly Bear shows us that even Claymation can be depressing). “Sleeping Ute” doesn’t technically have a chorus, but the verses themselves act as the chorus. The first two (sometimes four) measures of each verse are straightforward vocal dominated in a ¾ time signature, but they are then juxtaposed with a chorus that hops forward.The drums and guitar push forward and play with off rhythms making the song feel like it’s about to trip over itself in excitement.
Like many Grizzly Bear tunes, this track evolves into a gorgeous piece that is completely different from the first half of the song -- the second half of “Sleeping Ute” is basically a different track. There's a lone Spanish-sounding guitar with a heart breaking vocal line that claims “I live to see your face, and I hate to see you go, but I know no other way, than straight on out the door.”