Give the members of Grizzly Bear credit: They’re making sure nobody has a chance to forget about them in the lead up to their sophomore disc’s release. Horn of Plenty impressed many with its subtle yet intoxicating sonic textures, but it was released all the way back in November 2004 — roughly forever ago in Internet-driven music circles. Rather than recede from the public conscious, they’ve opted to scrape the barrel, delivering a track-for-track remix album last fall and now Sorry for the Delay, a limited-edition, vinyl-only collection of songs recorded prior to the work that would eventually become Horn of Plenty.
If the ambient folk of Grizzly Bear’s debut was primitive, than much of Sorry for the Delay is downright prehistoric. The songs collected here show original Grizzly Bear Edward Droste testing out many of the ideas and sounds that would eventually make it on to the band’s debut: sunken-sea-style vocals, sparse guitar strumming, noise experimentation, all present and accounted for. Needless to say, the songs lack the (relative) refinement found on Horn of Plenty, and on more than a couple of occasions, they could stand for some direction. Still, there’s enough here to attract more than just completists. The songs clearly show the potential that Droste would eventually realize as a songwriter and, if nothing else, the haunting cover of Yes’s classic “Owner of a Lonely Heart” provides a fresh take on the ’80s staple.
Interesting as this Grizzly Bear history lesson may be, it’s the band’s future that’s ultimately of greater interest. Having expanded to a four piece in the past year, Grizzly Bear’s live performances have displayed a newfound sophistication, building anticipation for some new recorded material. The wait is almost over, with an album supposedly due for release this fall. In the meantime, Sorry for the Delay serves as an adequate short-term diversion.
“Sure Thing” MP3 (Right Click Save As)