In 2009, Brooklyn-based Grizzly Bear became a mainstay of artsy indie rock with its breakthrough effort, Veckatimest, which added to the band’s already gorgeous, distinct sound. Three years later, the vocally adept and sonically diverse quartet is back with Shields, an album even more assured of the band’s signature style.
Anchored by singers Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen’s ever-rotating swath of vocal leads, as well as fluttering guitars swarming their way through the haze of digital soundscapes, rambling drums, and wraith-like harmonies and melodies, Shields makes it clear that Grizzly Bear has concocted another beautiful and haunting effort — one drenched in hook-laden experimentations, dark-eyed cynicism, and minimalist wayfaring.
The potential that seemed so massive when the band emerged in the early 2000s has finally blossomed, with standout tracks like “Yet Again,” “Half Gate,” and “Gun-Shy” swelling into unrelenting, heart-strumming works of art. Lead single and opener “Sleeping Ute” is a mini-masterpiece unto itself, showcasing the album’s range and multitude of forms as bubbling synth arpeggios and acoustic finger-picking accent a powerful pop structure.
Shields is proof that Grizzly Bear ranks among indie’s elite.