Following the success of 2009’s Veckatimest is a difficult task, but the Brooklyn-based foursome Grizzly Bear managed to create something noteworthy with their new album, Shields, even though the poppy, precise sensibility that aided their last effort is absent. The album is moody and occasionally brings to mind Brian Wilson’s time in the studio with a sorrowful look in place of a smile as the songs float in and out of typical structures into more expansive, winding jams.
There is a sense of wet leather melancholy present, but the more harmonious, melodic songs like “Yet Again” and the Fleetwood Mac-ish “Gun-Shy” help balance out the mood and end up being the tracks that stick in your head. The album feels like the drugs are kicking in and wearing out as the tracks progress with a few really spacey songs, like the minute-long soundscape, “Adelma,” and its predecessor, “Speak In Rounds,” which begins in space then develops into a more formal song and finally drifts off back into space musically. The album ends with “Sun In Your Eyes,” which clocks in at over seven minutes and is, in a sense, a summation of the album itself as it weaves in and out of different movements in something like a micro rock opera.