Review: Grizzly Bear – Shields

 

Shields presents another bold, textured masterpiece from the extraordinary Brooklinites, Grizzly Bear. Shields sits somewhere between the understated majesty of Yellow House and the kaleidoscopic exuberance of Veckatimest. The album has been long, long awaited, and it’s a sheer delight, absolutely worth the wait.

Grizzly Bear seem to have benefitted from their individual side projects (Daniel Rossen’s EP and Chris Taylor’s Cant album). Shields demonstrates their now innate, effortless ability to write and record in a more cohesive way than ever before. Shields has delivered compelling, anthemic singles and stunning orchestral climaxes across the space of these 10 tracks.

Despite retaining the dreamy, psychedelic, free-flowing nature of Yellow House and Horn Of Plenty, Shields sees the increased involvement of Daniel Rossen. Rossen’s style, exhibited clearly on his incredible debut solo EP Golden Mile, means that Shields is, at times, as considered as an orchestral composition.  It is, I find, an immediately rewarding listen.

What’s Wrong includes flowing woodwind, vocal harmonies, jazzy drum patterns and string interludes; it is a stunning craft. It seems that whilst physically removing themselves from Brooklyn, Grizzly Bear have made great efforts of digging out the emotions that have sometimes been buried beneath the technicalities of their previous works. Speak In Rounds builds to an incredible rock climax, whilst Gun-Shy features effortless, breezy vocals.

Shields’ highlight, however, is Sun In Your Eyes, a poised masterpiece in which every note seems carefully calculated. It confirms Grizzly Bear’s measured approach, three years to follow up Veckatimest, has paid off.

Cat Gough