Shields

Studio Album by released in 2012

Shields review

From home project to Shields

Grizzly Bear began its history in 2000, when the vocalist and founder of the group Ed Droste decided that it would be funny to put to the test his home musical project ideas that he named after his friend’s nickname and see the results. Now they have four albums, they scored in The Twilight Saga: New Moon with their soundtrack Slow Life and currently are on tour presenting their fresh album Shields. Concerning their album history, well it starts with Horn Of Plenty, album written by Ed’s forces in his bedroom in lo-fi and anti-folk style. And it was the album that received a great appreciation from the Rolling Stone magazine. Later band will re-issue it with the additional disc of remixes. Then was Yellow House that was released by the Warp Records and a little bit later was stated to be one of the most prominent albums of 2006 by New York Times and Pitchfork Media. Next album Veckatimest topped at the 8th position in the US Billboard 200 chart and was greatly accepted by the critics. This longplay was named after an island near Cape Cod that was very inspirational for the band. The range of inspiration received can be clearly seen in places that it had gotten in various charts – 1st according to Wall Street Journal, 6th in Pitchfork, 6th in New York Times and 8th in Time. It will be pretty tough for the Shields to outmatch and beat the heights that previous albums set, let’s see.

En garde!

Grizzly Bear was always understood as a band that proudly carries banner of avant-garde, and the beginning of a longplay is another proof for that. Sleeping Ute meets us with broken beats, psychodelic noises, low-fi drums and lyrical ballad sung by Ed. Notional loading of the song delivers all the torments of love with its constant doubts, disturbances and helplessness in changing something and somehow help yourself. And this languid mood slowly flows to the second track that continues tone of the first one, and gradually pace rises and we hear incendiary rhythms with great melody. Speak In Rounds is just the continuation of the opening, they are not separate but look like whole piece of music and lyrics, though the second song is definitely more positive in rhythms and variations of instruments used. So it goes on. And after a short instrumental we meet Yet Again that feels like nervine prescribed for treating melancholy or excessive agitation previous tracks demonstrated to us, nameable and smooth melody of this track climaxes in the retro-futuristic noise finale. So the story goes. Rainy, travailous atmosphere of The Hunt in smooth flowing manner changes to jazzy, soft one in A Simple Answer that slowly decelerates and passes the baton to somber What’s Wrong. And in this game of light and shade we are approaching epilogue of the long play Sun In Your Eyes, that starts as an eerie ballad with nice touches of piano and dimensional beat and ends with rainbow of different noises and the anthem-like victorious singing of mister Droste.

Single and solid narration by Grizzly Bear

Grizzly Bear wrote a story. Single, solid story that has the duration of 47 minutes and 56 seconds. Gentle and stormy, thundering and silent, uncontrolled and calm, chaotic and logical atmosphere of the album is amazingly united in continuous narration. How did they manage to do it this way? We don’t know, but the whole album has been listened as one track, seen as single performance without act-waits. Shields seems to be at least as big as Veckatimest and other two albums, that’s why the battle we set in the beginning of the review we can be definitely called draw. Ed Droste presented us a nice example of indie style, that stands aside of a commercial mainstream music and will never limit itself with standards of modern culture or even views and expectations of the public. It is clearly independent with avant-garde elements in it. Yes, it may seem rough and disordered for unprepared listener, but connoisseurs of the style are sure to value the real power and innovativeness of Shields album, others may listen to it just for broadening their area of thought and who knows maybe it will be Shields that will bring you the understanding and love for the indie-experimental style.