Track Review: Grizzly Bear – “Sleeping Ute”

[Warp; 2012]

For a song called “Sleeping Ute,” this one certainly got around fast. It was not an hour after the band first announced their new album and posted its lead track that the blogosphere had suddenly exploded. Literally, it seemed, given the abundance of such morbid praise as “It blew me away,” and “It totally kills.” Nonetheless, if “Sleeping Ute” is guilty of these crimes, I can’t help but applaud the finesse and sophistication with which it carried them out. Like many Daniel Rossen-helmed Grizzly Bear tunes, it blooms steadily over a tightly coiled 6/8 drumbeat and a hypnotic, circling guitar hook. The track comes in three distinct parts, first introducing the theme, then embellishing upon it before the drums stop completely, giving way to the cascading fingerpicking characteristic of many Grizzly Bear tracks. “I just can’t help myself,” Rossen sings, before the second verse crashes in, bigger and louder, making the coda a very pleasing and worthwhile comedown (pay attention now, Yeasayer). Its complexity keeps it from being the irresistible earworm “Two Weeks” became, but that is to the song’s credit, to some extent. I’m afraid if this were stuck in my head all the time, I’d get tired of it.