On their 2009 breakthrough, Veckatimest, Grizzly Bear made the sound of agitation – squirrelly melodies, antsy rhythms, lyrics full of emotional surgery – into music that was lush, genteel and centered. With Shields, they still sound like Radiohead at a Buddhist retreat, but the songs are more muscular, increasingly driven by drummer Christopher Bear’s innate swing. The fussiest moments – the deconstructed orchestrations on “What’s Wrong,” the Broadway majesty of “Sun in Your Eyes” – are often the sweetest, and rock hugeness is merely one tool in their kit. “Endless abundance overflows,” intones Daniel Rossen, and that homily sounds irrefutably true.
Listen to ‘Shields’: