Grizzly Bear – Shields


Artist

Album

Shields

Label

Warp

Year

2012

Genre

For Fans Of

Bon Iver - Jeff Buckley

Summary

A little sadder but much more mature.

Rating

80 / 100

In the world of indie-rock, Grizzly Bear seem to demand a certain respect. People either like them or don’t know them – there are arguably no indie fans that hate their music. This is strange because the sound of Grizzly Bear is usually quite far from mainstream indie, they are more like a Bon Iver, unique and loved on a playing field of their own.

The distant and haunting sounds they are capable of can also be quickly replaced by bright, almost pop moments. You never know what to expect.

The group’s fourth record ‘Shields’ continues this exciting approach , with the vibe keeping quite mellow, but sounding more mature than ever before. The band are not afraid to experiment with various instruments and styles, a highlight and good example being the horns used the end of ‘What’s Wrong’, for an impromptu jazz jam.

The use of strings, albeit subtle, is extremely effective, working well in tandem with the main instruments, making fairly standard tracks like ‘Speak in Rounds’, something special. Opening song and single ‘Sleeping Ute’ is driven by a Jeff Buckley-esque guitar line and an off kilter structure. It’s a bold choice for single but a great way to set the tone for the rest of the record.

Instrumentation is a strength, and focus for this group, the instrumental track ‘Adelma’ is proof of this, communicating with subtle detail, a factor that makes repeated listens of Grizzly Bear records so rewarding. The record is overall quite melancholy, even its “happier” moments are sad, like the playful opening guitars of ‘Yet Again’, which are brought down from their cloud by the intertwining vocal lines.

The album closes with a synth infused number called ‘Sun In Your Eyes’, one of the biggest moments on the record in which the band break out of their distant, gentle air and end things with an explosion. A Grizzly Bear explosion that is, so no one is injured.

Conclusion

While there is a lack of immediate stand-out tracks, ‘Shields’ as a whole, is one of Grizzly Bear’s most mature and adventurous records. It requires a few spins, but is well worth the attention to detail needed for maximum enjoyment.

Tracklisting

1. Sleeping Ute
2. Speak In Rounds
3. Adelma
4. Yet Again
5. The Hunt
6. A Simple Answer
7. What’s Wrong
8. gun-shy
9. Half gate
10. Sun In Your Eyes

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