by: Grizzly Bear
I saw these guys on Colbert Report months ago and really liked the feel of the music. Then The Current is featured Shields as album of the week. It’s kind of ‘hypnotic’ rock.
I like the multi-instrument sound and the steady beat featured on many of the tracks. I just feel like Grizzly Bear goes too far with it.
On some tracks, Grizzly Bear sounds like Harry Connick, Jr. got stoned with Architecture in Helsinki and made a baby. On others, it sounds like a Bon Iver meets Fleet Foxes and produced something a bit more inbred. The overly orchestral sounds and soft male voices just tend to turn me off.
During my first listen I stumbled over the first couple of tracks, but started warming up to it as I worked my way through the album. Then the second to last track got all ‘epic’ sounding and my interested waned once again. And unfortunately, this was capped off by a dramatic ballad that I will simply describe as ‘the Barry Manilow walk of shame.’
Shields is a slower, dreamier, and more ‘contemplative’ album. I may have been down with them in my early college years. In fact, this would be a perfect Varsity Theatre show – the eclectic lounge atmosphere and swinging layers of drapery would be perfect for these guys. However, even at the Varsity, there would need to be surplus of a fog machines readily available.
I remember hearing a track or two from these guys off their prior album, and never got into them. I had heard one from this album recently and it sounded ok, promising even. But this album failed to grab my interest at all. Even trying with headphones, it just passed by without catching my attention. There's some interesting sonic stuff going on, and even the one single sounds pretty good when I hear it on its own, but the album as a whole is quite mellow and uninspiring to me.
This is another middle of the road album for me. The sound is intriguing and even the vocals are pleasant. They feel like an ambient The Shins with less whiney vocals … though I love the Shins and I'm not blown away by Grizzly Bear. That's not to say I hate them either … I'm just … ho-hum.
I think they have potential to make some great stuff. I like the little Jazz breaks they throw in throughout the album. I might just need more time for this one to grow on me. Check it out as it seems like a niche album. I'll spend some more time with it in the near future. I will say it's great background music for working or driving, which is just fine with me.
These guys didn't really do it for me. I feel like I've heard this sound before; maybe it was even this group, but I’m not sure. Either way, it didn't really grab my attention. Now, that’s not to say this is a bad album, it's just not my thing. However, I felt like it made for nice calming background music. That's pretty much the whole album – calm. So, if you're looking for something mellow and relaxing, this might be for you.
File under: "Not My Thing." A compositionally intense record, it's quietness belies the complexity of some of the arrangements, but complements the obvious thematic elements regarding the desire for autonomy and a need to be close to others. But for me, the 'baroque pop' and usage of traditional instruments like lap steel guitar, woodwinds and horns alongside synthesizers and drum machines muddies the message and the album ends up feeling weak and fleeting to me, like it could be playing and I wouldn't notice. If I had to guess what would happen when a bunch of Brooklyn jazz-camp graduates would get together and make a record, this is it. Even when they try to push the envelope with distorted, off-key synths and wild intra-compositional departures, it feels reductive and unnecessary. Vocally reminiscent of Death Cab For Cutie, the result is still an album full of mom-rock for post-grads in bulky sweaters to listen to while on their cold porch smoking hand-rolled cigarettes.
Shields is very indie-rock and youth driven. The sound is at times psychedelic-rock, but the songs go from dark metal sounding to bouncy synthesizers, and from folk to pop.
Aside from a few good songs like the opening “Sleeping Ute” and “gun-shy” the album as a whole did not inspire or do much for me. I just felt like I wanted more … like the songs where about to take me where I wanted them to go, then they turned and went back the other way.