Grizzly Bear is an indie/folk rock band from Brooklyn, New York. They are commonly known around the indie world as Jonny Greenwood’s favorite band and oddly connected to Jay-Z in some unclear way, as he and Beyonce have appeared in the audience at their shows. Their previous record- Veckatimest was a critically acclaimed success that put them on the map for their music alone. That was 2009, and they’ve been touring ever since. Shields comes out September 18th on Warp Records and it’s a wild ride through shapes and sounds comparable to Radiohead’s last few records. Lead singer/songwriter Edward Droste sings just like Thom Yorke without the powerful vibrato. He is more folky than operatic, and the songs are acoustic based, similar to The Shins if they took a lot of acid.
It opens in a unique way from Veckatimest, sounding like 1970’s progressive rock like King Crimson. It’s the sound of a band trying to break out of any one particular genre, fooling around with sound effects and unusual rhythmic changes. A step forward I’d say, for a band that kept their fans waiting two years, it would be a disappointment if they had continued with the previous sound. Shields is more expressive of what this band is capable of, given the amount of time needed to find their place, I’d call this their best album. Are they the American Radiohead? About a million other bands are gunning for that title, but Grizzly Bear just might be in the lead for now. The real test will be the fans reaction to this drastic change in direction and whether they have the dexterity to keep surprising us in the years to come.