Best Albums Of 2012 – #3 – Grizzly Bear – Shields

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(Read the original review)

I have always celebrated Grizzly Bear for their novel subtleties. Everything that they have ever washed their hands on has peaked on groundbreaking levels and Shields has proven no different. While this record is undoubtedly a natural progression, Grizzly Bear has proven to be full of surprises. With this album, they have mastered a unique blend of mellowed chamber pop and even hints of psychedelia, while still remaining true to the calm, collected sound coined on Vekatimest.

Take one of  the lead tracks, “Yet Again” for example. This song builds on easy, paced drums, distant keys, gentle, intimate guitar riffs, and ends in a psychedelic mess of scratchy reverb. With some of the most beautiful arrangements ever thought up, each song is delicately crafted and polished in pristine detail. Lyrically, “Yet Again” and “gun-shy” are easily two of the most well written songs of this year. The most alluring element of this entire record though, rests in its embrace of the 60’s wall of sound coined by Phil Spector.

With rolling, brushed drums, vintage reverb, and ambient guitars, Shields is almost otherworldly. With Ed Droste’s melancholic-like voice of longing in accompaniment, it is easy to find genuine, personal sentiment in each track. Every detail of the album showcases Grizzly Bear’s innovative potential and the valuable benefits of being a part of a band who has always done things on their own terms.

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