Grizzly Bear Shields

Grizzly BearShields
Each Grizzly Bear record has been a major leap forward from the previous, so it's a bit disappointing to discover that Shields, the Brooklyn, NY band's fourth, is more of a step to the side. Veckatimest was the culmination of the quartet's intricate arrangements and lush harmonies. After an aborted attempt to record the album in Marfa, TX, Grizzly Bear went back to Cape Cod, where they tracked Veckatimest, and Shields continues in its vein. The playing is looser and there's a raw quality to the vocals that gives the album a sense of time and place their previous efforts have lacked. But these ten tracks don't posses the focus and precision of songs like "Two Weeks," coming across like unmastered leftovers from the last album's sessions. Still, tracks like "Yet Again" and "Gun-Shy" easily best 95-percent of the indie-minded bands that currently call Brooklyn home. It's just that after eight years of charting their own course, it's a shame to find Grizzly Bear spinning their wheels. (Warp)