“Place your bets on chance and apathy, from the wind in front of me. Even though you’re the only I see …”

I adored Grizzly Bear’s Slow Life a couple years before I ever heard of Beach House. Only well after enjoying Beach House’s Teen Dream album was I able to make the connection that Victoria Legrand, vocalist for Beach House, also performed the vocals on Slow Life.

newmoon-ost-artI bought the Twilight: New Moon sountrack immediately upon hearing it played at Main Street Music in Manayunk. Although it is a remarkable document, also featuring the likes of Thom Yorke, Lykke Li, Muse, OK Go, and Editors, I still have yet to see the movie. I never really liked vampire movies. That’s not really my scene, but movies with such awesome soundtracks ought to be given a chance, right?

Pitchfork wrote in a lackluster review of Slow Life:

The line-up is a Who’s Who of millennial indie music, selected to accompany a divisive piece of melodramatic Mormon-tinged young adult fiction about abstinent vampires and the awkward girls who love them. However, as projects from music supervisor Alexandra Patsavas have demonstrated– “The O.C.”, “Gossip Girl”, etc.– a good soundtrack has a way of coloring perceptions. And this seems to be the aim of the New Moon OST: to court a more mature audience– or at least attempt to challenge the series’ current fans.

I believe it. The review goes on to criticize Ms. Legrand’s performance:

The song is constructed like a dialogue between Beach House‘s Victoria Legrand and Grizzly Bear‘s Ed Droste. Though it’s a strong concept and the pairing sounds apt on paper, the result doesn’t quite hold up to expectations. Predictably, Legrand’s sultry voice sounds elegant, but her end of the conversation falls a bit flat— especially in comparison to Droste’s. Even though her voice is captivating enough to transcend minimal instrumentation, she sounds hollow and oddly bored. The limited melody seems to constrain her, giving the impression that she’s not being used to her full potential. However, this lean setting does provide a nice contrast for Droste’s rebuttal, where the song’s protracted tempo is propped up by gorgeous glittery, synth-laden pomp and circumstance … .

To this I would respond: That’s not a bug. That’s a feature. The whole point of the slow life, I would imagine, is be hollow and oddly bored, which is why Victoria Legrand’s performance is perfect, as usual, for the song, and why I’ve taken to the song so well.

Grizzly Bear is another exquisite band. I bought their 2009 album Veckataimest after hearing Slow Life, and then later 2012’s Shields, which appears to be the band’s most recent album to date.


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