Grizzly Bear: Shields

Grizzly Bear
(Warp Records)

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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.

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About Tim Needles

Tim Needles is an artist, photographer, humorist, and writer from Long Island, NY. His writing and art work has been seen in multiple exhibitions and publications around New York as well as the Photographer’s Forum, French Photo, the New York Times, and LI Pulse magazine. He is also an educator and currently teaches art and film at Smithtown, NY and as an Education Leader for Adobe. He was recently the recipient of the Robert Rauschenberg Award in Washington DC and serves as the director of Strictly Students, a non-for-profit group for media and education. His work can be seen on his website: www.timneedles.com
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