US - New York - Full Moon 197 - 09/30/12
Warp Records / Playground
It's back to Brooklyn's finest, with Grizzly Bear's fourth album, Shields. Fronted by the most compelling singles, the excellent "Sleeping
Ute" and the even more amazingly catchy "Yet Again", I guess Shields will make sure that Grizzly Bear yet again ends up among the 'album of the year' nominees.
Ed Droste and co. were having a break after touring (rather extensively - leaving the boys rather shell-shocked by the touring) their break-through album, 2009's
Veckatimest. The band separated for a pause, and started writing songs all four of them; Edward Droste (lead and backing vocals,
guitar, etc.), Daniel Rossen (lead and backing vocals, guitars, pianos, synths, cello, and more), Christopher Bear (drums, percussion, backing vocals, drum machine, lap
steel, wurlitzer, synths), and the band's head of production; Chris 'CANT' Taylor (bass guitar, backing vocals, synths, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, accordion, and more).
The band is indeed a collection of multi-instrumentalists and creative minds. Since last album, Rossen's put out a solo-EP earlier this year entitled Silent Hour/Golden
Mile (also on Warp), while Taylor's solo album, Dreams Come True came last September. Taylor has also been working as a producer for bands such as Dirty Projectors,
Department of Eagles (where Daniel Rossen's a member), and The Morning Benders (the wonderful Big Echo!). Last but not least, Grizzly Bear were responsible for
(most of the songs) the soundtrack to the movie Blue Valentine of 2010. Grizzly Bear in a romantic drama starring Ryan Gosling -- can you believe it?
"Shields is good", is what stream through my head the first times I expose myself to it. Maybe because the band parted and the members came back again working
as a collaborative collective. Anyway, like always Grizzly Bear create graceful and majestic music. The songs are also a bit mystic, and quite dark-toned. This is not
feelgood, happy pop, mind you. Grizzly Bear shoves proof of energy, punch and stamina, making their music (and lyrics) hit both mind and body. "Yet Again" is simply brilliant.
I rest my case. The other 9 tracks vary a bit, but most songs lay on a very high level of quality. Musically Grizzly Bear sometimes make me imagine a strange brew of Radiohead
and Arcade Fire, but most of the time they're simply themselves. Creating progressive, eccentric, baroque pop. Just check the two singles, or "Half Gate", or "Sun in Your
Eyes". This is music that will caress your soul.
Keep up the good work. Maybe I'll go see them play live again next month, when they come visiting Oslo again? For the third time.
Copyright © 2012 Håvard Oppøyen