There is always an air of nervous excitement for fans when an exceptionally talented band presents new melodies into the musical realm. Will they ever be able to follow up their last album? Do they still have it?
Grizzly Bear, hailing from Brooklyn, N.Y., has proven yet again that they most certainly still "have it" with their fourth album, "Shields," set to be released Sept. 18.
The album deviates slightly from the slower-paced, folky-psychedelic rock that fans across the world have become accustomed to from their previous efforts such as "Veckatimest," but their signature style echoes throughout the entirety of "Shields." Clocking at just over 48 minutes in length, the record is an intoxicating journey that is worth the listener's full attention.
Grizzly Bear has really pushed the tempo on a great portion of "Shields," yet they have found an extraordinary way of doing so. Songs such as "Yet Again" and "A Simple Answer" show the group's ability to produce an ear-catching tune with their mix of electronic and traditional instruments. They also have the willingness to break into a harmonious synchronization of the voices of front men Edward Droste and Daniel Rossen on the same track. The song entitled "What's Wrong" has a tremendous, orchestral sound with an artful conclusion that will keep the listener's foot tapping. Everything a Grizzly Bear fan loved about their style is present (echoing vocals, creative instrument use, etc.), yet they have added a novel and enjoyable dimension to their acoustic persona.
Even a poet can appreciate "Shields" for its profound lyrical combinations put to the sound of symphonic instrumentation. "Speak in Rounds" contains a high volume of lyrics that provide a deep journey into the minds of the songwriters.
Ed Droste referred to the album as their "most verbose album," ahead of their previous efforts. When the lyrics are combined with outstanding vocal ability, getting lost in the airy sound is to be expected.
It is clear that experimentation was a significant force in the creation of the album, with its varied utilization of familiar and unexpected instruments. Not only did Grizzly Bear incorporate new sounds and techniques, but they did it with precision, which produced a clean and sweet-sounding tour de force. Each song is riddled with unexpected turns, keeping the listener on his or her toes.
"Shields" was available for streaming prior to its release through National Public Radio's website, giving avid fans the chance to have a sneak peak of the masterful work to come.
If that was not enough to arouse the interest of potential listeners, Grizzly Bear also played on popular television shows such as Comedy Central's "The Colbert Report" to give an unfamiliar audience a sample of their creative and resourceful music while slipping in a few of their singles such as fan-favorite "Sleeping Ute." The band has an obvious desire to share their music with the world, and with good reason.
With so much music today mindlessly slipping into the realm of popular interest, Grizzly Bear proves with "Shields" that there are still musicians present who have the passion and unwavering desire to make music that can withstand the tests of time and criticism.
From start to finish, "Shields" will provide a unique experience that is valuable to anyone who is a fan of a diverse and thought-provoking musical canter. Give this album a listen, for it will certainly not disappoint.