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CD review: Grizzly Bear’s ‘Shields’

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Annie Zaleski

The Details

Grizzly Bear
Shields
Three and a half stars

Brooklyn indie-rockers Grizzly Bear rose to prominence swirling classical-music precision through folk, psychedelic and electronic pastiches. Shields, the band’s first new album in three years, continues the trend, laying out a series of intricate arrangements (fierce acoustic strumming meets hip-hop beats on “Speak in Rounds”), disorienting sound collisions (“Sleeping Ute,” whose aggressive guitars smother dissonant synth blurts) and evocative delicacies (the dank piano and falsetto crooning on the Radiohead-ish “The Hunt”).

But, because each band member contributed to Shields—in the past, frontman/founder Ed Droste dictated the band’s direction—this time, the Bear sounds fuller and livelier. It’s quite a testament to the group’s talents that such disparate ideas still coalesce into a cohesive, intriguing record that defies easy categorization.

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