It's always tough for a band to follow up what can be considered their breakthrough album with another one when the expectations are at their highest. The same could be said for Brooklyn's Grizzly Bear, they had their third record, Veckatimest, reach #1 on the Billboard Top Independent Albums chart and scored the #8 spot on the Billboard Top 200 back in 2010. With success like that, it's a difficult task for anyone to take on when it comes to doing better than your best. Shields definitely makes a bid to show Grizzly Bear's progression from their previous record, branching out into more different styles of playing and making a very unique piece of music because of that.
In case you're degenerate enough to think I'm writing about the animal who can tear your head off with one swipe rather than an actual band, Grizzly Bear consists of Edward Droste on vocals, guitar, and keyboard, Daniel Rossen alternating on vocals, guitar, banjo and keyboard, Chris Taylor on backing vocals and bass and Christopher Bear on drums and glockenspiel. As with most Grizzly Bear albums, Droste and Rossen wrote the songs together. For the first time though, they gravitated toward using songs for the album that were most open to true quartet collaboration. Using this method, Grizzly Bear has became a true 4-piece band incorporating everyone's ideas into every song. It definitely pays off, with countless bountiful dimensions surrounding Shields with each track.
- Rob Duguay
It's that time again, but you already know what I'm going to write about. I gotta pick a few tracks that I love off of Shields, do I really have a choice? of course not. Here goes something: "Sleeping Ute" is a great track that has jangling distorted guitars mixed with beautifully acoustic ones about losing the one you love but you can't help yourself so you let them go. "Speak In Rounds" starts off with synthy keys, a steady bass and a rhythmic acoustic guitar all about how the fear of loneliness can alienate you from everything while at the same time wanting to jump back into it all. The tempo to "A Simple Answer" is so smooth and groovy that it sounds like something you can shuffle your feet to, a catchy drumbeat and Droste's awesomely poetic lyrics really make for the backbone of the song. "Sun In Your Eyes" is an anthem for redemption that makes me think if Pink Floyd and Joy Division hooked up and had a musical lovechild, it would be this song. As I always say, don't be an idiot and just take my word as gospel without actually exploring your musical taste. Get a copy of Shields and listen in for yourself.
Grizzly Bear are embarking on a World Tour that started at the Tennessee Theater in Knoxville on September 16th and will be ending at The Bruce Mason Centre in Auckland, New Zealand on November 21st. For us New England music fanatics, Grizzly Bear will be gracing The Orpheum in Boston with their amazing music on September 22nd, definitely a show that no Bostonian should miss. They'll also be playing the legendary Radio City Music Hall in New York City a couple days later on September 24th which should be their best homecoming show yet. Until then in-tuned readers and loyal listeners, you gotta grab a copy of Grizzly Bear's fourth album, Shields. It's spectacular and a thing of pure beauty for your ears to behold.
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