The Phoenix Network:
 
 
About  |  Advertise
Adult  |  Blogs  |  In Pictures
 

Grizzly Bear | Shields

Warp (2012)
By RYAN REED  |  September 19, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

gbear

The initial moments of "Sleeping Ute" are so quintessentially Grizzly Bear, they almost have no impact — Daniel Rossen nurses jagged, staggering chords on an electric guitar likely purchased from a 12th-century pawn shop. Then something weird happens: the sleepiness erupts into psychedelic blaxploitation soul, with huge wallops of wah-wah cascading over ominous synths and drunken drum-kit stumbles. Veckatimest, the quartet's third studio album, was indisputably gorgeous — but that beauty was so refined, so calculated, it sometimes kept an emotional roadblock between listener and band. On the more visceral Shields, Grizzly Bear get a little weirder, a little synthier, a little grizzlier. Veckatimest felt like a 50/50 split between Rossen's literate folk-prog and Ed Droste's sensitive, textured psych-pop, sequenced as a sonic tug-of-war. On Shields, they achieve a fluid synthesis: Rossen and Droste still share vocal duties, but they often tag-team the same track, trading off lines and writing melodies for one another's voices. Their styles coalesce so smoothly, it's often difficult to tell where one singer-songwriter starts and the other ends. "Speak in Rounds" begins as a Droste-led exercise in sleek, modern restraint, with soulful vocal melodies wafting over Christopher Bear's deadened, tribal tom-toms. Then Rossen's shimmering acoustics strum in and steal the show, culminating in a fuzzy, punk-ish clatter of horns and cymbals. "Gun-shy" is a sonic marvel, with an endless supply of headphone-worthy details: Rossen and Droste trading druggy vocal lines, a psychedelic dialogue between slide guitar and synth, triangles and shakers percolating over Bear's booming bass drum. "Looking back and forth, turn around," Droste croons over creaking, minimalist soundscapes on piano ballad "The Hunt," "One that makes no sense but feels good anyhow." In a way, it's the perfect summary of Shields' thrilling, idiosyncratic sprawl.

SEE THEM LIVE: Grizzly Bear + Unknown Mortal Orchestra | The Orpheum, 1 Hamilton Place, Boston | September 22 @ 8 pm, All Ages, $33.50 | 617.482.0106

  Topics: CD Reviews , Music, Arts, GRIZZLY BEAR,  More more >
| More


[ 04/23 ]   6th Annual SENE Film, Music & Arts Festival  @ Warwick Museum of Art
[ 04/23 ]   Veronica Meadows, by Stephen Thorne  @ Trinity Repertory Company
[ 04/23 ]   "Graphic Design: Now in Production,"  @ RISD Museum
ARTICLES BY RYAN REED
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   WAVVES | AFRAID OF HEIGHTS  |  March 18, 2013
    "I Can't Dream," the closer on Wavves' fourth studio album, opens in a drunken lo-fi stupor — Nathan Williams warbling bratty, tone-deaf nonsense over hissy acoustic power chords.
  •   THE VIRGINS | STRIKE GENTLY  |  March 06, 2013
    After a half-decade of semi-obscurity, frontman Donald Cumming is redefining his band as the hipster sultans of swing.
  •   ATOMS FOR PEACE | AMOK  |  February 26, 2013
    Kid A , Radiohead's confounding electro-rock masterpiece, is officially hitting puberty.
  •   ATLAS GENIUS | WHEN IT WAS NOW  |  February 20, 2013
    Atlas Genius are schooled students of modern pop architecture, seamlessly bouncing from Coldplay-styled acoustic rock to fizzy Phoenix funkiness to deadpanned Strokes-ian guitar chug. But When It Was Now is more like an alt-pop NOW compilation than a joyous synthesis.
  •   FOALS | HOLY FIRE  |  February 11, 2013
    Even at their most expansive, Foals are digging into more primal territory.

 See all articles by: RYAN REED



  |  Sign In  |  Register
 
thePhoenix.com:
Phoenix Media/Communications Group:
TODAY'S FEATURED ADVERTISERS
Copyright © 2014 The Phoenix Media/Communications Group