Archive for the ‘Grizzly Bear’ Category

With the release of their fourth studio album, the Brooklyn quartet, Grizzly Bear, has once again expanded the realm of the indie-rock genre. Shields is their most experimental album yet, weaving in and out of the emotional confusion that comes with the need for both solitude and companionship.  Fans of the band will not be disappointed, as band members, Ed Droste, Daniel Rossen, Chris Taylor and Chris Bear have definitely stepped up their game.

Beginning with the cover of the album, designed by Richard Diebenkorn, the depiction of a club guarded by a larger spade could be interpreted as the role of relationships and people acting as a shield in our lives. We desire to be alone, yet simultaneously need that barrier around us.

The first track on the album, “Sleeping Ute” gives the sense that you are both physically and metaphorically waking up from a dream. “Those countless empty days left me dizzy when I woke” portrays a self-realization, or seeing something for the very first time. Possibly realizing an emptiness in a relationship you’d been ignoring, and feeling there is no other option but to walk away from it. The first song makes it extremely apparent how much growth has developed within the band. In comparison with their first albums, Shields is more daring with sound and more intimate with the lyrics. This album is the first, in my opinion, to really use the words as a narration and depict one core theme throughout the record.

By the time the album reaches the track “Yet Again”, you have already begun what feels like a journey of sorrow and confusion. This song serves as a release from these feelings, and the harmonies on the “oh, oh, oh” are like an emotional outlet giving us a sense of relief. The album then moves into the song “The Hunt”, where rough guitar chords and cymbals echo the message of lost love and finding One’s self beautifully.

The album ends with the epic tune “Sun In Your Eyes”. Shields opened with a sense of doubt and an uncertainty towards society, and by the time we get to this final song, we expect some sort of forgiveness and return. Instead, we are faced with the line, “I’m never coming back”, leaving us submerged in an uncomfortable yet necessary reality that sometimes walking away is the answer.

Shields offers an incredible emotional journey and is an album you can get lost in. Peaking at #7 on the Billboard 200 in America, this record is sure to be a great addition to your collection.

 

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