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A Magazine for

Shields



Any band recommended by Radiohead is worth a listen in my book, so in 2008 when Jonny Greenwood mentioned Grizzly Bear as his favourite band, my love affair with the psychedelic pop group began.

A good few years into their success, the Brooklyn-bred boys already had a fantastic collection of material as they toured with Radiohead and began to really make a name for themselves at a selection of US festivals. Still going strong as a touring band in 2012, the release of their fourth studio album Shields has been the words on everybody's lips, and now that it's finally here it feels a little bit like Christmas has come three months early.

When a band releases something as strong and loveable as Grizzly Bear's previous album Veckatimest, there is undoubtedly a great deal of pressure on them for their next move. On first listen, I wasn't blown away by Shields, but I wasn't disappointed either, so I listened again and again. Each time it played through, I fell a little more in love with each track until I came to the decision that they have once again managed to create a masterpiece. A natural progression in musical maturity from the previous albums, Shields ties together all of the genres which have been thrown into the band over the years. Perhaps it's the four-year relationship making me ever-so-slightly biased, but there is something incredibly compelling which told me I'd get it in the end, and I was right.

Opening track 'Sleeping Ute' captures everything that I like about Grizzly Bear, from the near perfect harmonies to the slashing guitar and layers upon layers of percussion. There is so much going on, you immediately feel as though you have to listen to it again to make sure you didn't miss anything. On the flip side, tracks like 'The Hunt' and 'What's Wrong' follow more of an airy, linear structure. In fact, almost every song could come under its own individual micro-genre, but somehow they all seem to slot together.

There is something about this album which strikes me as a "love it or hate it" sort of deal. It's enchanting, and if you give it the time of day I'd put money on you falling in love with it, but I can see some people missing the charm. For those of you who are with me, Grizzly Bear's world tour comes as close as Manchester on 18th October, so I'll see you there.

by Now Then Sheffield