With their last two albums, Grizzly Bear found a happy medium between catchy hooks and more emotional songwriting. That formula hasn’t changed much with the band’s newest record, Shields, but this time around they make a genuine effort to branch out even more with varied instrumentation and complex song structures. Now the band’s characteristically great vocal melodies are paired with keyboard flourishes, horn sections and a general sense of bombast that seems more in line with a group like Arcade Fire. Whether it’s the sudden shift from electric to acoustic in the album opener “Sleeping Ute,” or the jazzy drum/piano interplay in the final moments of “What’s Wrong,” every track on this LP has that one special moment that keeps the listener coming back for more. It makes for an exciting album that only increases in appeal with repeated spins, resulting in a serious contender for album of the year.
Give these tracks a listen: “Sleeping Ute,” “Yet Again,” “A Simple Answer”
For fans of: Arcade Fire, Fleet Foxes, Radiohead