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Grizzly Bear: Friend

A

Grizzly Bear

Album: Friend
Label: Warp

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Although Grizzly Bear's breakthrough sophomore album, Yellow House, was released last September, 2007 was arguably the Year Of Grizzly Bear: The talented Brooklyn band with a taste for geeky Ren-Fair instrumentation refined its singular sound ("psych-folk" barely begins to cover it) while becoming one of the year's can't-miss live acts. The Friend EP reflects that road-seasoned maturity with meticulously reworked versions of songs that sound revelatory and new, rather than like subtly tweaked retreads; lo-fi Horn Of Plenty tracks like "Alligator" and "Shift" benefit the most from the lush new arrangements. While the added "bonus" of having CSS and Band Of Horses contribute worthless cover versions only serves to illustrate how one-note those groups are in comparison, the inclusion of the previously unreleased "Granny Diner" and a haunting cover of The Crystals' "He Hit Me"—a live-show highlight—make this a must-have for more than just completists.