Grizzly Bear’s signature blog smash, “Knife,” was an instant cover version magnet. The original is an amorphous cloud of prettiness, a creeping golden hour fog. But to a lonely dissenter who wasn’t fully captivated by the band, or the near universally acclaimed Yellow House, it always seemed unfinished, like its gorgeous tune could be put to greater use. The scruffy Canadians in Born Ruffians proved me right by returning the song to its sixties roots and adding some sock hop pomp, but there are plenty of ways to mold a block of clay.
Deerhunter front man Bradford Cox takes a turn at bat under his Atlas Sound name on GB’s upcoming Friend EP. By adding broken music box percussion Cox makes the song uglier, but more propulsive. With even a sputtering clockwork rhythm to wrap around, the song’s unstoppable melody seems less windy and bloated. Cox keeps these original vocal lines intact, but multi-tracked. His overlapping self-harmonies give them an almost schizophrenic character. It makes it seem quite possible that the song’s betrayer and its victim are one in the same.