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Album Review: Grizzly Bear – Shields

Grizzly Bear is one of those bands that continue to stand out by creating an engaging auditory experience. Their breakout album Veckatimist was lauded by music fans and critics alike, and it is probably safe to say Shields will follow suit. Shields is unique in that it doesn’t have a standout track, the quality is inherent in every song; each has its own handsome virtues. The single “Yet Again” is arguably the most accessible song on the album, but it still maintains the haunting aura the album strives for. From the moment the album begins with “Sleeping Ute,” it is quite obvious Grizzly Bear has created something special.

The album is an ambition of the doleful and lonely; it is resonant of the desire for more, especially in this impatient world. Shields encourages the listener to slow down and reflect on the complexities of what it is to be human, through its lyrics and ethereal tones. The album is peppered with soaring vocals and intricate instrumentation that only a seasoned band of musicians could create. There are moments of sound that ascend, as if one was stuck in a spectral haze, and there are also parts that twang of folk-tinged sing along. Some stretches are epic and some are airy, especially in tracks “Half-Gate” and “Sun in Your Eyes.”

The vast array of sound that Grizzly Bear has managed to capture is very impressive. Within its flashes of edginess, Shields manages to create a grand collection of songs by juxtaposing its raw moments to a friendly-produced whole. Grizzly Bear have honed and expanded their sound with this album, and they have proven they deserve the acclaim they receive. Near the beginning of the record Daniel Rossen croons, “But I can’t help myself.” Neither can we Daniel, neither can we.