Indie folk rock darlings Grizzly Bear captured the attention of the various online publications and the alternative music sphere with their excellent 2009 release Veckatimest. The album made use of excellent vocals and sophisticated songwriting to create rich, pastoral pieces that were both catchy and atmospheric. The first taste of their new untitled album, album opener “Sleeping Ute”, continues many of the elements that made Veckatimest such a success: lovely vocal harmonies, jangly guitar hooks, bursts of electronic coloring, and Chris Bear’s hazy drumming. However, with “Sleeping Ute”, Grizzly Bear have also taken the next step in the evolution of their sound. The fragility of earlier Grizzly Bear is almost entirely gone as Ute quickly transitions from a light pound to an expansive and enormous thud. By the halfway mark, guitars move from their typical jangle to a fuzzed out post-punk jam. The interlude introduces a thick synth line and electronic pangs that move past complimentary colorings to give the song a new sense of urgency. Even the lead vocals (Daniel, Chris, or Ed—I can never tell) croon with a bluesy tint while boldly admitting “I can’t help myself”. Finally the acoustic bridge is not a release from the panic of sounds that came before, but rather a winking warning of what is to come on the rest of the album (that “I can’t help myself” seems so subtly sinister). “Sleeping Ute” is an example of how moving masterful songwriting and skillful instrumentation can be. The song rises, billows, thuds, and erupts with imagination, audacity, and vivaciousness. If this is a good indication of Grizzly Bear’s new sound and attitude, then their new album will be a triumphant one.