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Last Lungs - Look At That Old Grizzly Bear Album Cover

Last Lungs - Look At That Old Grizzly Bear

Reviewed by
8.5
Last Lungs - Look At That Old Grizzly Bear
Record Label: Deep Elm Records
Release Date: Aug. 3, 2010
This review was written by an AP.net staff member.
Deep Elm Records has catalogued an impressive arsenal of under-the-radar musicians and bands for more than a decade. This year's crop though just might be their strongest. Foremost of those bands is the Utah outfit Les Sages, who was reviewed at this site earlier this year. Closely on the heels of the Beehive quintet though is England's Last Lungs. On their debut full-length Look at That Old Grizzly Bear they offer up 10 shimmering and cogent collections of near pristine post-rock.

Seven-minute album opener "Oh, Good Morning," opens with searing guitars, crashing cymbals and enough ballast to make Jimi Hendrix blush. Most instrumental records don't open with this kind of energy but Last Lungs launches into thunderous cacophony in the first 60 seconds. Things settle down and move towards a more refined plateau as winsome guitar lines dance gracefully for nearly two minutes.

Inserting Explosions Into the Sky as a reference point is as redundant as citing The Beatles into a pop review, but the early morning calm of the song's middle sections definitely invokes the Texans' spirit. Around the three minute mark, the song glides upward and the dueling guitar attack becomes more potent, visceral and infectious. There's a framework at work here that just seems too good to be true. When the song cools down in the last 60 seconds, it almost feels like the morning quiet after a frenzied one night stand.

Near seven-minute second cut "33," is more pastoral and vernal, akin to August mid-mornings and early September evenings. Around the 2:30 mark the song hits its stride and moves forward in a determined and inspired cadence not unlike power jogs, 5k competitions and Strongest Man competitions. To put it simply if Lance Armstrong had a theme song it might sound akin to "33."

The song slows its momentum at the four minute mark, taking a brief 40 second respite before revving back up again at the five-minute mark. Though we're only two songs it has become apparent that the Britons have a penchant for working their songs towards a glorious resolution and its something that is certainly repeated through the duration of the disc.

Title track "Look at That Old Grizzly Bear," comes out of the gate clawing with a feral virility that is both awe-inspiring and otherwordly. Like the soundtrack to a tsunami, the song kicks and spits with energy and swagger. But after two minutes,
the song retreats into placidity and flaccidly moves along. Sixty seconds later, the song segues into something more lively before escalating upward again. It's at this point that the song's title feels appropriate.

With swift energy and tenacity, the song packs a whollop and never lets up. It's also at this point on the record that the drumming of Nathan Entwistle deserves armfuls of praise. He absolutely attacks his drums with the ferocity and tenacity that is head-spinning and nothing short of transcendent. Though there are many high points on the disc, there aren't any as potent, muscular and arresting as the final 150 seconds of "Look At That Old Grizzly Bear."

"Inglend, Part I," is a tranquil attempt at respite that serves its purpose well but does suffer from a lack of originality. The entire song feels like one long continuous loop and after 60 seconds one can't help but want to skip forward to
"Inglend, Part II." And it is here that Last Lungs might just sound their best. There's no histrionic guitar fits, no attempts at cinematic psychedelia, it's just crisp guitars soaring whimsically across an amiable sonic landscape.

On the five-minute "Ingland Part III," the quartet revisits the pastoral mid-morning balladry of "33," and wades back into Explosions in the Sky territory (sorry, but its true). When a synthesizer jump into the fray at the two-minute mark, the song's entire complexion changes and the piece moves forward like a Skynyrd song gone awry. While that sounds awfully disappointing, the song is far from a letdown and rises towards the heavens in the final two minutes. Like a downtrodden sinner genuflecting before an altar, there's a wide-eyed sentiment about the song's movement that leaves one breathless.

The two-minute "Wax and Wane," is a spartan foray into minimalism that serves as a bridge to eighth track "Kaleidoscope." While there isn't much wrong with the song itself, the entire thing feels a bit too redundant. At this point, Look At That Old Grizzly Bear should be driving down new highways and visiting new towns, and unfortunately "Kaleidoscope," feels like the same commute five songs ago. Even a glimmering crescendo at the 3:30 mark can't save this song from being one worth remembering.

Penultimate cut "Now Against, the Staircase Part I," is a piano-based foray into sensuality that begins with timid guitars and a coy rhythm section. And even though the song does ascend skyward at the three-minute mark, there's nothing overly memorable about "Part I," at all.

Electro blips and beets and sweetly sung verses {there's actually vocals!) signal the start of "Now Against the Staircase, Part II," arguably the album's best song. Fans of Brand New will probably find a kinship with the song and one can't help but smile as the song grinds towards a close. It is here in "Part II,"s final moments that Last Lungs hits their best stride and offers up everything that's great about their output.

Instrumental albums are almost always engaging, inspiring and worth remembering, but on these 10 songs, Last Lungs stake their claim as one of 2010's most promising post-rock outfits. One can only hope they keep churning out albums as richly rewarding as this.

Track Listing 1. Oh Good Morning (7:22)
2. 33 (6:36)
3. Look At That Old Grizzly Bear (6:49)
4. Inglend, Part I (2:42)
5. Inglend, Part II (2:59)
6. Inglend, Part II (5:14)
7. Wax and Wane (1:44)
8. Kaleidoscope (4:53)
9. Now Against the Staircase, Part I (4:13)
10. Now Against the Staircase, Part II (5:37)


Recommended If You Like Explosions in the Sky, American Football,
Red Sparrowes, Metavari, Lebanon, The Pandas


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Displaying posts 1 - 13 of 13
06:38 AM on 09/29/10
#2
Clintoto
thefifties.bandcamp.com
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Explosions in the Sky AND American Football? Shits, I need to find a computer with speakers!

Nice review Mr. Robson
06:47 AM on 09/29/10
#3
Gregory Robson
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Explosions in the Sky AND American Football? Shits, I need to find a computer with speakers!

Nice review Mr. Robson
I assure you they will not let you down. This record should be at least a 90. But they only use vocals on one song and while they are strong, i couldn't really give them a 9 or above for that category. It's frustrating though because this disc is probably a 91 or 92. So glad you took the time to read such a lengthy review. Happy listening!
07:27 AM on 09/29/10
#4
mybreakingpoint
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Sounds right up my alley. Another great review, Gregory. Downloading now.
10:40 AM on 09/29/10
#5
Christian Otte
Get money fuck bitches smoke trees
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I only checked out this review because I liked the album title - fuck, am I glad I did.
01:37 PM on 10/01/10
#6
gjp
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Great review, this is an amazing album.
03:27 AM on 10/15/10
#7
ozzieny
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This is sweeping, moving, shimmering - good comparison to Explosions in the Sky - these guys are GOOD! and this album is great driving music. a 9 out of 10! Awesome debut - thanks for the review.
02:38 PM on 04/29/12
#8
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02:39 PM on 04/29/12
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02:40 PM on 04/29/12
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02:41 PM on 04/29/12
zbclqkneta
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02:41 PM on 04/29/12
zbclqkneta
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Li Jian said that Karen Millen UK compared to additional youngsters, this their child is pretty modest, the emotions of the function may not have an additional serious, nevertheless Chanel Bags over the actions, he abruptly discovered an improved understanding of their son or daughter. Li Jian, in addition found out that generally solid, the kids Hogan Scarpe Outlet possess their very own concepts, and also your expression is assigned to your ex, however they alteration by appliance Kate Moss could not view the previous: My own son can be a fairly introverted child, the wedding furthermore fixed the child's phrase regarding some undesirable habits, Furthermore, i discovered sympathy, the kid who has certainly not lost in reality, your strength and perseverance grownups.
02:42 PM on 04/29/12
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