Shields

  • Record Label: Warp
  • Release Date: Sep 18, 2012
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
Buy On
  1. Sep 20, 2012
    60
    Shields is not going to grab you, but it rewards patience.
  2. Sep 14, 2012
    60
    Pretty but formless, Shields plays like a calculated retreat into something altogether indistinct and inconsequential.
  3. Sep 18, 2012
    60
    It's a shame to find Grizzly Bear spinning their wheels.
  4. Sep 17, 2012
    60
    It's more likely, though, that Shields is a grower.
User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 139 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Dec 31, 2012
    10
    Grizzly Bear's great effort has come. First hearing this, it felt a bit different, but with elements from their previous album, theirGrizzly Bear's great effort has come. First hearing this, it felt a bit different, but with elements from their previous album, their previous album, this is a superb 10-track album worth buying. Tracks to listen to: Yet Again, Sun In Your Eyes and Gun-Shy. Full Review »
  2. Oct 28, 2012
    5
    I want to love Grizzly Bear. I really do. If growing a beard, putting on skinny jeans, and wearing a toque with a pair of Ray Bans will makeI want to love Grizzly Bear. I really do. If growing a beard, putting on skinny jeans, and wearing a toque with a pair of Ray Bans will make the supposed charm of Grizzly Bear make more sense to me, I'm willing to try. But as the previous sentence indicates, I'm tempted to dismiss them as the overrated hipster darlings of a Pitchfork review. And I saw them at Bonnaroo (after a week without shaving), and - to be brutally honest - I was bored. I didn't think their music translated live. I'm willing to give "growers" time to grow, but with repeated listens of this album, I can honestly say it does not grab me. Moments here and there flirt with a beautiful melody that is never quit there, and I'm annoyed with Grizzly Bear in the same way I am with Radiohead. It's as if preventing a melody from going where it feels like it is supposed to go is some new form of 'high art" that I'm not hipster enough to "get." A song like "A Simple Answer" was among the few that grabbed me first listen, but even it never manages to boil beyond a simmer, and a true satisfying moment seems annoyingly out of reach. All in all, I dismiss Grizzly Bear as among the most overrated indie acts out there (however, no where near Bon Iver in that regard). At times pretty and interesting, ultimately - they are pretty damn boring (very much like Bon Iver). Maybe your either a Fleet Foxes kind of person or a Grizzly Bear kind of person. I'll take real melodies and real playing with real purpose any day. Full Review »
  3. Sep 19, 2012
    10
    For me, the efforts of this band cannot be downplayed or diminished. They are truly devoted to continual improvement, and this album is aFor me, the efforts of this band cannot be downplayed or diminished. They are truly devoted to continual improvement, and this album is a testament to their creative capacity as well as their devotion to constantly make themselves better as a band. I might have listened to opener "Sleeping Ute" 10 times before it struck me what it is (or could be) all about, and the resonance it carried: Rossen, in a contented relationship, far gone, though his partner sleeps "nearer to me [him]" and if he could continue to lie still as that gray hill, he could remain in the relationship, but at a loss; at the sacrifice of opportunities to have "a long day, wandering free". And though he lives to see her face (read, possibly, superficial beauty) and hates to see her go (even though he'll be the one doing the leaving), in spite of comfort, he knows a life awaits him beyond, perhaps through the leaves, perhaps through the smoke that he witnesses so saliently as he lies collapsed on the stone he was "delivered" to in dream to contemplate the vagary (or perchance evolving change) of his present situation. Being true to himself, he knows no other way than to "walk on out the door" because he can't help himself. Previously, it was just a grand rocker with a second movement that expresses perhaps perfectly the calmness and clearness he finds on that rock. Yes, perhaps an overanalysis of one song on the album, but my experience with it speaks to the same effect all 10 songs on this album deliver. Some have called it a grower, but like the best GB songs, it opens up on first listen, then bouquets on repeated listens, just as a fine beloved wine is quaffable at first blush, and becomes something else towards the end of the second glass. The integrity of this effort cannot be diminished, and I'm cautiously optimistic that the publications that rated it with a high enough mark will revisit their sentiments come December, when the best-of lists are released and the finest album of the year is hailed. Sure, that Frank Ocean album...what was it called...was great at first listen, but will it rank the finest album of the year? It ought not to, for while it is an inspired effort, it is also limited by its lack of layers, and its lack of value on repeated listens. There is so much to peel back on Shields, and while I am encouraged by the initial glowing reviews, I believe we have to put all in perspective to realize the sheer strength of this album, given the great expectations that surely would have been placed upon it. It is a Herculean labour to follow up a stellar album like Veckatimest, and the band pulled through, by being perfectionistic, by striving for higher ground, and achieving it. Despite my love for Half Gate, Yet Again and a few other standouts on the album, as a music lover with a deep interest in jazz (and a deep contempt of jazz that aspires to be rock -- oh how many failed attempts that has rendered), Grizzly Bear actually pulled it off with What's Wrong. Listen to the tonal complexity. Listen to the chords. Listen to that Horace Silveresque coda. And recall that the track still embodies all of rock's core competencies, and nothing but amazement and reverie ought to befall. If MetaCritic users could do decimals (unless there's something I'm missing), I would put this at a 9.6 or 9.7 given there are slight imperfections (don't even get me started on MBDTF, which would have earned a great ranking, but was not inherently perfect), but I have to round up, I guess :) Regardless, it might not be for everyone, but musically, lyrically, it is brilliant and a masterpiece. Good work, guys. Can't believe this all began with Droste recording tracks simply "for friends" in his mother's place. Full Review »