Patience Reveals Beauty
Grizzly Bearâ€šÃ„Ã´s The Horn of Plenty is a two-disc debut with one being the album and the other consisting of remixes. The oddity here is that there are nine tracks on the album and sixteen on the remix disc. The first disc, while requiring a significant listener effort, is a low-key but majestic and beautiful suite. The second disc, while adding seven tracks and changing the order, is full of remixes using accessible musical styles. Both discs are worthwhile, but the problem is overkill.Disc one finds Grizzly Bear experimenting with the lo-fi indie-folk textures of groups like Iron & Wine. The set begins with a hum and evolves into a spacey, slow and gentle affair. Electric guitar riffs, flutes, claps, and various tape effects show up along the way on this laboriously crafted trip through the serene. “Fix It” is the stand-out of the double set. In three parts, this song is ambitious with singer Edward Droste’s Brian Eno-esque vocals surrounded by sparse indie-folk evolving to dream pop. The sections are separated by a vocal choir/organ crescendo that reaches heaven. The denouement third section is as pop friendly as the first disc gets. However, patience from listeners will reveal The Horn of Plenty to be adventurously atmospheric while retaining roots in indie-folk.
Disc two is an entirely different, safer situation. In contrast to disc one’s requirement of patience, the highlights here depend on the listener’s taste. From Dntel’s (Figurine) tremulous, shoegazer remix of “Merge” to The Bomarr Monk’s (Restiform Bodies) Aphex Twin-esque take on “Deep Sea Diver,” the remixes run the gamut of indie rock and recent electronica in an almost too-listener-friendly way. These arenâ€šÃ„Ã´t bad; they just feel like excess after the creativity from disc one.
Grizzly Bearâ€šÃ„Ã´s The Horn of Plenty, while adventurous and beautiful, will require more patience than most will want to give. Ergo, the disc of remixes is a novel idea but ultimately too much of a good thing.