Harriton Jukebox: Shields by Grizzly Bear

"Yet Again" from YouTube Channel: grizzletbearband

Alex Friend, Arts & Entertainment Editor

Since Grizzly Bear’s 2009 breakthrough album Veckatimist, the band has remained at the forefront of the Brooklyn music scene. Shields, out now via Warp, maintains the band’s musical standing through compositionally rigorous and texturally appealing songs worthy of countless listens.

The bands four members – Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor, and Chris Bear – pride themselves on their tight unity.

Unlike Veckatimist, which thrived on songs like their hit-single “Two Weeks,” their new release lacks any sort of immediacy. Instead, Shields features detailed production and tranquil instrumentation that dominates the album

“Sleeping Ute,” the opening track, exuberantly launches the album into motion with blaring percussive clashes and piercing electric guitar. As the song comes to a close, Rossen croons, “And I live to see your face / And I hate to see you go / But I know no other way / Than straight on out the door” closely followed by the refrain “But I can’t help myself.”

The themes of independence and loneliness appear multiple times throughout the album’s 48-minute span. “Yet Again” barrels onward with its booming drum line, while Droste exhibits a relationship gone awry. In the final minute, the song explodes into chaotic disarray that leaves the listener in a state of bewilderment.

“The Hunt,” which ushers in the second half of the album, showcases a minimalist style seen in their debut album, Yellow House. “Gun-Shy” and “Sun In Your Eyes,” the album’s last two tracks, gradually return from desolate minimalism to the distinctly forceful sound present on the first half of the album.

In short, Shields is a complex but rewarding album worth buying online or at your local record store.