Grizzly Bear’s Chris Taylor might be one of the most influential people you don’t know. Not only has his band played some type of role in pretty much every single sound to come out of Brooklyn since 2004, he’s also had his hand directly inside the process. With his label Terrible Records, he’s produced some of the hottest young acts in the independent scene (Twin Shadow, the Morning Benders and Arthur Russell). So, it’s not too surprising that with his first solo effort — an album called Dreams Come True under the moniker CANT — he succeeds.
The 10-track LP is a blissful experience. From the opener “Too Late, Too Far” to the title track, Taylor’s fluttery falsetto fits right into the R&B flavored pop music he created. In many of the songs, he presents this weird, delicate and, at times, painful atmosphere for the listener — but still, somehow, makes it something that we want to hear over and over. The approach is a challenge because, in a way, Taylor is making hooks out of things that aren’t supposed to be catchy. They aren’t supposed to be fun. We’re not supposed to enjoy them. Yet through some clever production, we’re humming them on the commute to work. Taylor wins.
It’s strange because it’s hard to identify what exactly makes CANT so appealing. Perhaps it’s this idea that music doesn’t have to be incredibly complicated to be good. Sure, the production may sound a little weird, but that doesn’t translate to elaborate. For example, with “Answer,” Taylor follows a very traditional songwriting path. The track builds and builds with time until the eventual drop of everything but the beat. And, of course, that’s not the most innovative thing to happen in music ever, but what makes it so good is that these are sounds that we haven’t heard in hook form before.
Back in 2009, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood was quoted saying that Veckatamist was one of his favorite albums. With Dreams Come True, it’s easy to see that why Greenwood enjoys music from Taylor and, honestly, it seems like Taylor was influenced by Greenwood himself. “BANG” practically sounds like a track from In Rainbows, channeling a quiet, soft guitar line that, in what is a theme throughout the album, grows into something larger. But it’s never too much. And that’s why he succeeds. Taylor doesn’t get caught up in making his sounds too big, too large, or too much. He could, but he doesn’t. He maintains control, doesn’t get lost, and the result are nothing short of terrific. In more than one way, he made Dreams Come True. (Sorry.)