Choosing the block capital, stoic appellative CANT as his new moniker, Grizzly Bear‘s multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, composer and all round clever clog, Chris Taylor, ventures into seemingly new polygenesis waters with the help of collaborative musical partner, George Lewis Jnr (of Twin Shadows fame).
The solo debut, ‘Dreams Comes True’, benefits from the assiduously chosen session work he’s carried out for the likes of Arthur Russell, The Dirty Projectors and TV On The Radio: each of these artists and groups leave a trace and mark, suffused throughout the album’s ten tracks. Unlike the usual day job offerings, this series of vaporous, translucent, jumpy and entranced laments conjure up visions of a Prince (circa ‘Purple Rain’) fronted Radiohead, or an R&B Spaceman 3. Taylor’s vocals on this morose expedition plummet into a languid state as he sulkingly coos resigned verses about a shitty break-up -a central theme that carries on to the bitter end of the record. He sways between the timbre of a sleezy and more soulful Matthew Dear, to reaching the frail higher notes of Mercury Rev‘s Jonathan Donahue.
Being a producer himself, our hip Brooklynite pulls out all the studio trickery using 8-bit effects; electro-frazzled synths; gated-reverb; shards of 1980s atmosphere; and iridescent, sparkly shimmers to furnish a psychedelic-tinged musical suite. There is no doubt Taylor crafts some pretty tight tracks and creates stirring erudite songs, but at times the album loses momentum and tends to flag – the misfire faux-soundclash throwback of ‘Answer’ is a real lacklustre affair. However, stand out tunes include the Animal Collective friendly surf-soul ‘Believe’, and the moody bass noodling turn and ominious soaring, Tubeway Army-esque, paean ‘Bang’: to name just two. Shifting naturally amongst the recent past, Taylor takes on the mantle of an electrified space-blues Lennon on the impressive, ‘She Found A Way Out’, and attentively recites a misty-eyed pining, nigh classical, piano melody from some distant corner of his memory bank, for the sad ‘(Broken Collar)’.
‘Dreams Come True’ has found its home in the UK with Warp, but will be released Stateside via Taylor’s and label partner Ethan Silverman’s, Terrible Records imprint; started in 2009, the label’s aim is to develop emerging talent. CANT isn’t about to eclipse the ever-looming presence of the lauded Grizzly Bear, yet it proves Taylor can step out on his own.