Photo: Tom Hines

Grizzly Bear – “Neighbors” (Singles Going Steady)

Grizzly Bear's latest video has a sort of David Lynch-goes-Game of Thrones quality thing going on.

A Noah Harrison: Grizzly Bear were one of the more exciting groups of aughts to join the indie menagerie. Their new track “Neighbors” comes as the newest in a string of singles anticipating their first album in five years. Like their oft-compared forest friends Fleet Foxes, Grizzly Bear takes us farther down the path they’ve been traveling: an increasingly artful (read: complicated) and chamber-ized indie. It’s quite good — one of those songs that will take several listens to sink your teeth and claws into. In it, they engage their trademark lush synths beneath a wild, overdriven guitar lick, which leads into a, uh, really cool breakdown — and a lengthy series of other musical elements best heard with your ears instead of eyes. Oh, and the video has a sort of David Lynch-goes-Game of Thrones quality thing going on. So I’m sure you’ll all love it. [8/10]

Ian Rushbury: Is this progressive rock for hipsters? The tune twists and turns so much it’s hard to get a real sense of what is going on in “Neighbors”. The vocals sound quite a lot like Fleet Foxes, but the instrumental parts are so fragmented that it sounds like a hot mess. I was confused and annoyed, which is not a great combination of emotions to feel when listening to music. [5/10]

Tristan Kneschke: Grizzly Bear’s “Neighbors” finds Droste’s vocals as soft and lamenting as ever. The band’s orchestration and arrangement is ace, with punctuating horns and lilting guitars creating a sense of dreamy space girding the atmospheric synths. The music video’s camera continuously drifts across two people who blend into whatever background they’re near. The video is really about how two people can easily sink into each other without knowing, needing a child to create a sense of purpose. The family photo paradoxically suggests both a positive and negative outcome, but its ambiguity creates an eerie tension as the song rings out. [8/10]

Adriane Pontecorvo: Another day, another surreal folk rock video. Fine. [4/10]

Mike Schiller: Fleet Foxes’ “Fool’s Errand” wasn’t that long ago, and the video for Grizzly Bear’s “Neighbors” shares a lot in common with that rare Fleet Foxes misfire. That said, “Neighbors” actually manages to deliver on its pastoral pretensions, offering a song that goes in enough directions to require multiple listens but never loses sight of the heart behind the music. It is not one of Grizzly Bear’s most effective or memorable compositions, but it is a fine song that functions well as a teaser for the upcoming full-length. [7/10]

Paul Carr: Grizzly Bear do what they do best in providing another melodious slice of soaring melancholy that teeters on the edge between hopefulness and hopelessness. It’s a deceptively winsome tune with a heartbreaking edge that gets under your skin the more you listen. [8/10]

Chris Ingalls: A thorny, complex single from the upcoming Grizzly Bear album, the minor-key folky vibe combined with dissonant orchestrations invite comparisons to the latest Fleet Foxes album — definitely not a bad thing. Like so much of the best music out there, “Neighbors” seems to transport the listener to another place, where seemingly disparate elements combine to make something truly different. [9/10]

SCORE: 7.00


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