Grizzly Bear – Shields

Prior Grizzly Bear albums showed quite a bit of potential; they were good, but seemed to be missing something. However, with Shields, it seems Grizzly Bear climbed over the mountain and crafted a great album. Grizzly Bear consists of vocalist Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen on vocals and guitar, Christopher Bear on drums, and Chris Taylor on bass. Shields expands on the sound of their previous album, Veckatimest, but takes it further. The opening track, Sleeping Ute, is representative of the sound on Shields. There is acoustic guitar immersed in layers of stringed orchestration and keyboards giving a slight psychedelic atmosphere reminiscent of the 1960s. The music on Shields is incredibly lush, consisting of multiple layers of instrumentation and numerous vocal melodies. There is quite a bit going on all while the atmosphere is quite homey. Speak in Rounds continues with the same atmosphere and much of the instrumentation is fun, upbeat, yet still mellow. The Hunt is a slower track that has plenty of off-sounding instrumentation in the background. My favorite track is What’s Wrong, which has some jazzy drums and orchestration. It sounds like a jazz jam session mixed with cello and strings. The layered music is what makes this album great. There is lot going on, as on A Simple Answer with starts off with upbeat piano, layers of keyboards, and leads into a more somber second half. Half Gate is an almost epic track at times as all of the layers come together several times over the course of the song. Grizzly Bear has crafted a sonically diverse and lush album with Shields. They showed potential before, but Shields has pushed them to new heights. Time will tell if they can manage to build upon this feat. Much of the album is not in your face, but it is an intelligently crafted piece of work. Recommended.

Genre: Indie
Country: USA
Label: Warp
Release: September 18, 2012

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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