Track Review: “Neighbors”- Grizzly Bear

Another band once slapped with the label of “indie folk” that has returned from a long hiatus, Grizzly Bear is preparing to release their fifth full length LP, Painted Ruins, their first since 2012’s Shields.

Having listened to many of Grizzly Bear’s contemporaries, I often receive recommendations to give this band a look. Some time in the past, I may have listened to a track or two and not have really given them much thought. I decided it was time I actually gave this band a fair chance, seeing that a new record was to be released, and I arbitrarily picked “Neighbors”, the fourth single from Painted Ruins.

The song wears its influences on its sleeve, sporting a sound reminiscent of 70’s era folk. From the vintage sounding horn intro to the shimmering 12 string acoustic guitars, the song is immediately evocative of figures such as Roy Harper. The track boasts a driving percussion beat, with luscious harmonies punctuated with acoustic arpeggiations and highly compressed electric guitar lines, with just enough reverb to be tasteful and not overbearing. On the whole, the song has a very dreamy, almost psychedelic vibe to it (without crossing into trite neo-psychedelia territory), and is a very refreshing listen of more traditional indie folk (an interesting trend to note, considering that Grizzly Bear have moved in a folkier direction since their earlier indie rock days, as other bands like Bon Iver and Fleet Foxes have deviated from standard folk towards newer, more experimental sounds).

This single leaves me quite excited for Painted Ruins, set to release on August 18th. Perhaps Grizzly Bear will even become a staple in the newer folk scene, and inspire similar rock-folk hybrid acts.