Grizzly Bear's music has always been infused with nuance and detail. The quartet has grown from their debut on Ed Droste's home recorded Horn Of Plenty to showcase the talents of all involved. From their haunting vocal harmonies to their multifaceted instrumentation the band creates intricate tapestries infused with baroque melody that beckon the listener in. For their fourth proper album, Shields, Grizzly Bear have shaken off critics' assumptions that they are all flourish and no substance. Songs like the pair of lead-off singles, "Sleeping Ute" and "Yet Again", expose the band's emotional core in a way we have not heard before. At times it feels as if the compositions want to take off in multiple directions at once, but the tend to resolve at just the right moment. Chris Bear's drumming underpins the frantic and ethereal soundscapes created by Chris Taylor, while Droste seems to have a new found grittiness in his vocals. The real standout of Shields though, is Daniel Rossen. His folksy playing has grown to incorporate strands of jazz and prog-rock that add layers of depth to Grizzly Bear's sound. While Shields may be more demanding than Grizzly Bear's past albums it is ultimately stronger and more accomplished than anything that has come before. Deluxe 180 gram double vinyl in gatefold sleeve.
- Music Label: Warp Records 2012
reviewed by Michu Meszaros 09/2012