Release Date: Nov 12, 2013
Record label: Warp
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
What appeals most about Grizzly Bear is their predilection for sound, for depth and visceral impact. Their music is characterised by unexpected turns, peaks and shifts in pace; the juxtaposition between loud and quiet. Every microscopic detail counts, even the spaces between the notes are important. That’s why it’s the previously unheard tracks, and not the remixes, that makes this Special Edition of Shields actually special.
The Special Edition is no longer special. These days it’s easy to feel skeptical about words like “deluxe,” “expanded,” “rebooted,” or any other focus-grouped synonym—particularly when they’re attached to the name of a record you could have sworn came out a few months ago. Blame the ever-accelerating nostalgia cycle, the desperate marketing tactics of a wheezing industry, or the everyone-on-the-team-gets-a-trophy mentality of our youth; probably just blame all three.
As a band built on the authenticity of their background noises – the creak of rafter, the squeak of chair, the scuttle of woodlouse across glockenspiel – to be granted access to Grizzly Bear’s demos and cast-offs on this new edition of fourth album ‘Shields’ naturally adds to the magic, as if you’ve snuck upon a dusty trunk in their loft. And sure enough, while the Nicolas Jaar, Liars and Lindstrøm remixes add synthetic space to ‘Sleeping Ute’, ‘A Simple Answer’ and a Daft-ly disco ‘Gun-Shy’ respectively, it’s the fragile new tracks ‘Smothering Green’ (a muted, modernist Cole Porter clatter), ‘Taken Down’ (falsetto Fleet Foxes) and the two versions of ‘Everyone I Know’ (one churchy, one space-jazz meltdown renamed ‘Will Calls (Marfa Demo)’) that are the real treasures here. Mark Beaumont .
Shields, Grizzly Bear's fourth and celebrated new album to date, was highlighted by its pure clarity, both through Chris Taylor's crisp production, and chief songwriters Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen's meticulous melodies. Released digitally and as a stand-alone vinyl LP (titled Shields B-Sides) and as the bonus tracks to Warp Records' Shields: Expanded double-CD, this eight-song set provides a bit of insight into the evolution of Grizzly Bear's ever-ripening sound. Pulling together studio outtakes, remixes and pre-Shields demos, the songs that make up Expanded / B-Sides undoubtedly sound like they belong on a Grizzly Bear outtake reel.
opinion byBRENDAN FRANK The delicacy of Grizzly Bear’s music likens them more to sculptors than musicians. They craft their albums with the kind of care and patience that is easy to under-appreciate. Intent on outdoing themselves, the Brooklynite quartet put on a compositional clinic on their fourth album, last year’s Shields. It was a record assembled with a watchmaker’s precision, with all of the shivering translucency of an ice sculpture.