Grizzly Bear - Shields - Albums - Reviews - Soundblab

Grizzly Bear - Shields

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2012-09-17

While many would argue The National, deserve that plaudit of Brooklyn's finest modern band, there are probably an equal number who say that Grizzly Bear might stake a similar claim too. 2009's Veckatimest was widely regarded as one of the best albums of that year, so can this follow-up, a collaborative band effort, be just as quietly ferocious?

Well, while Shields harbours an impenetrable sound, similar to Radiohead's Kid A or Amnesiac, it's also true that any album which contains the delights of '

' deserves a wider listen. The former, the album opener, manages to strut its folky stuff rather well before the driving acoustic strum of 'Speak in Rounds' moves us into more fevered Fleet Foxes territory. And it's that band who bear up to the comparison best, even if their melancholy brand of folk isn't exactly replicated all the time in Grizzly Bear's more experimental style on this offering.

So while the Field Music-like 'Yet Again' and Foxes-sounding 'Half Gate' stand out from the latter tracks, several are going to take a few listens to really bed in. The piano-led 'The Hunt' could have come from any recent Radiohead album, while 'What's Wrong's stop-start structure makes it hard to fully immerse yourself in. The more laid-back 'Gun-Shy' drifts along nicely but it's album closer, 'Sun in Your Eyes', an escalating wall of sound, which leaves the biggest impression on the album's second half, apart from perhaps 'A Simple Answer'.

So while the band's sound grows more expansive on this new album (much like Bon Iver's eponymous second), fans will still find plenty to enjoy; newcomers the same.

Download - 'Sleeping Ute', 'A Simple Answer'

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