Shields - Grizzly Bear
Shields Image
Metascore
86

Universal acclaim - based on 36 Critics What's this?

User Score
8.7

Universal acclaim- based on 126 Ratings

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  • Summary: The fourth album for the Brooklyn rock band was recorded in New York after a recordings session in Texas was largely scrapped.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. Nov 30, 2012
    100
    It's the construction of it all that's so perfect: that the music can follow, this time, but still be what Grizzly Bear are all about.
  2. 90
    For how uncharacteristic it might seem for a band whose greatest gift, all along, was nuance, this louder take suits the band brilliantly.
  3. 90
    Although Veckatimest might be more of an emotionally-driven album, Shields continues to showcase a band that is somehow--as good as they currently are--simply getting better and better, regardless of the location, the circumstances, regardless of the schedules.
  4. Sep 14, 2012
    80
    It's a warm-blooded record, beholden to analogue gear and flawless mastering--one destined to fit snugly on a turntable rather than to live as ones and zeros on your iPod.
  5. Sep 18, 2012
    80
    With Shields, they still sound like Radiohead at a Buddhist retreat, but the songs are more muscular, increasingly driven by drummer Christopher Bear's innate swing.
  6. Oct 25, 2012
    78
    More than anything, Shields feels like a deliberate maturation of Arcade Fire's The Suburbs, trading adolescent angst for an older disillusion and heartbreak. The same tension exists between the two, especially in swelling closers "Half Gate" and "Sun in Your Eyes," yet here, they're more intricately expressed and controlled.
  7. Sep 14, 2012
    60
    Pretty but formless, Shields plays like a calculated retreat into something altogether indistinct and inconsequential.

See all 36 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 20 out of 22
  2. Negative: 0 out of 22
  1. Mar 5, 2013
    10
    If there is something that identifies the band Grizzly Bear (besides sweating right?) Is that there seems to have fun with their 'music, something that I think will surprise fans, because the adjectives that best define it are: dense ,complex and or ambitious. is a band that is often easier to admire than just listen and love. They achieved a work of art and would be an insult not to separate each of the layers of music that had been carefully placed by the band.
    Shields continues the move toward more digestible sounds without the need to get a degree in pure mathematics from Harvard. Influences that have been removed from the world of Ed Droste atmospheric side jazzoso towards Daniel Rossen has used in his side project Department of Eagles, though still unusual compositions and instrumentation with unconventional times.

    The band is not reinventing but expands its proposal without losing the essence. With a beautiful production, with good details, arrangements and textures worthy of a Renaissance chapel, have developed a sound that could be defined as Pop Ambient, without compromising his artistic vision or whatever you call it.
    Definitely one of the best albums of 2012.
    Expand
  2. Sep 18, 2012
    10
    10/10 best new grizzly bear. boooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooobssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss Expand
  3. 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, 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. Collapse
  4. Sep 24, 2012
    9
    Shields is Grizzly Bear's fourth studio album and follow-up to their critically-acclaimed Veckatimest, which is among my top ten favorite albums and holds a score of 85/100 here on Metacritic.

    This album is much more raw and exposed, less perfect (intentionally) than Veckatimest. I would be stoked, therefore, to see it performed live. Shields brims with grit and energy, much unlike its careful, thought-provoking predecessor. This is Physical Graffiti after Houses of the Holy.

    Shields feels much more collaborative than any of the previous albums. Whereas on other albums, it is clear which songs were written by Daniel Rossen and which by Ed Droste, it is not so distinct this time around. While each track's vocalist probably gives it away, there is a stylistic molding that makes Grizzly Bear feel more like a cohesive band. Ed sings tracks full of Daniel's broken rhythms, and Dan seems to have taken a slightly more melodic approach to songwriting. These guys are rubbing off on one another, which is a pleasure to hear.

    The album opens with "Sleeping Ute," a slightly aggressive, largely guitar-driven track, clearly written by Dan Rossen. It reminds me a ton of "Southern Point," the opener on Veckatimest. And it's an important song, because it sets the tone for the album. Rossen sounds utterly confused, hesitant to hold on to something he loves out of an arbitrary desire for independence. These feelings are amplified by the juxtaposition of his tentative vocal over an ever-exploding backdrop of bass and drums. "And I live to see your face, And I hate to see you go, But I know no other way, Than straight on out the door. And I can't help myself."

    "Speaking Rounds" follows the mellow close of "Ute" with a low-key but powerful opening. It then builds rather quickly to a surprising burst of energy, keeping this album moving forward rather than slowing it down. They bring in all the players here: plenty of background vocals, a horn section and a choir, bass fills and percussive jangle. It really starts to pop with authority, until the timer on the microwave is up and the pops start to dwindle. That's "Adelma": purely transitional, but entirely necessary to bridge the gap between "Rounds" and "Yet Again." It sets us back down from the high of "Rounds" so that we can appreciate the explosion of the album's masterpiece.

    Possibly my favorite Grizzly Bear track to date, "Yet Again" features Droste's most impressive and emotional vocal, better even than "Ready, Able," my favorite song off Veckatimest. But what is so great about this track is that, while beautiful and contemplative, it is driven ever forward by Chris Bear's percussive work. The orchestration is full, and the rhythms intertwine with a complexity that we have not yet seen from the band. The track comes to an epic close while Grizzly grooves on a heavy, disgruntled mess resembling the song's earlier motivations. I'm in disbelief.

    The next stretch of the album most closely resembles Veckatimest. A slow burner called "The Hunt" precedes "A Simple Answer," which is aptly named. And "What's Wrong" sounds like it could be a bonus track on the previous album.

    The next song, "gun-shy," is one of the catchiest on the album, which I didn't notice until I started singing it to myself on the streets and wondered, "what song is this?" It wasn't until then that I took the album for a second listen (this number has now neared fifteen, no joke) and realized that "gun-shy" is a masterwork of serenity. It's almost bubbly, a satirical introspective on the game of love. "Half Gate" is a powerhouse. It's the hesitant uplifter, the bridge reaching toward a conclusion that may or may not be on the other side.

    As the title suggests, "Sun in Your Eyes" is sort of that conclusion. Shields is an album about the complications of personal relationships. It's about the barriers we put between ourselves and other people, or between ourselves and our desires. We don't enjoy putting up walls; we wish we didn't have to, but we just do it, for reasons we can't really explain. We know we want something different, but we don't know what it is; it always seems to be whatever we don't currently have. "Sun in Your Eyes" is a complicated way of moving on. There's an uncertainty involved in moving toward the sun. The other side could be different, or it might be the same. You'll never know because the damn sun hurts your eyes. "So bright, so long, I'm never coming back."

    For more reviews on movies, TV, and music, see my blog at kofdrops.blogspot.com.
    Expand
  5. Dec 20, 2012
    8
    Perhaps I'm not sophisticated enough, but I just don't always get what they want to say in their songs. They are great musicians and fantastic at expressing themselves, however I don't always understand the meanings of the songs and/or the analogies. But when I get that, it's truly awesome! It's a stunning and chilling kind of music and it's not wrongly named as one of the best CDs in the year 2012 on many critics' lists. A strong album, you definitely should check it out. Expand
  6. Oct 21, 2012
    8
    It's a much more structured album than Veckatimist, with more experimentation, less pop hooks, and a lot more layering in vocals and in instrumentation. It's one of the better albums of the year. Expand
  7. Aug 27, 2013
    5
    This is FAR from being as good as Veckatimest. It starts and ends strong but the entire middle (half the album or more) is a giant slump. I don't know what people are thinking these days. I could name hit after hit off of Veck. This one has 1 or 2. Expand

See all 22 User Reviews

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