Back in 2010, Grizzly Bear were almost impossible to avoid. After their single “Two Weeks” featured in a Volkswagon commercial aired during the Superbowl, Grizzly Bear officially owned the airwaves.
While having already cut their teeth touring with the likes of Radiohead, TV on the Radio and Paul Simon (just to name a few), “Two Weeks” could be argued as the single which truly launched the band onto the commercial radar.
Since then the boys from Brooklen have somehow managed to keep a relatively low profile, while quietly working on a follow up to their incredibly successful 2009 release Veckatimest, an album The Wall Street Journal's Jim Fusilli declared as “ One of the best rock discs of the century so far”.
The bands fourth studio album Shields demonstrates a undeniable maturity for the foursome. While still remaining true to their folk/indie roots, Shields presents a challenge to new spectators and alumni alike.
The lead track off Grizzly Bears newest LP, “Sleeping ute” guides the listener on a increasingly winding journey, through swooping orchestra underscored by subtle psychedelica. These transitions remain a common theme throughout the album, from the grand gestures of booming percussion, flowing seamlessly into acoustic strumming, Grizzly Bear establish their facility to perform outside of the usual perimeters of familiar production.
Vocally this album is as strong as ever, predominately featuring Daniel Rossen and Edward Droste's choir boy-esk tones. Shields echos the mellower sounds of Beach House while they're experimental efforts create an undercurrent and texture, reminiscent of Jeff Buckleys work in his masterpiece Grace.
While fans of the bands earlier work may find this latest offering initially less engaging, songs such as “ Yet again” and “A Simple Answer” reward loyal listeners with those captivating vocal harmonies and indie rock melodies we have come to associate with all that is Grizzly.
Shields is due for release September 17/18.
Review Score: 8.3 out of 10.