Grizzly Bear's third album, Shields, starts off with what may be the band's most immediate and physically forceful single yet: the raw, dramatically bluesy guitar riff and crashing cymbals of "Sleeping Ute." Guitarist Daniel Rossen's immaculate vocal lead still floats above the fray, some soft synths burble up from underneath, but it's a striking song. A similar tension animates the whole album: this is by far Grizzly Bear's most upfront and present release to date, yet it also makes as artful use of acoustic space and delicate choral chamber pop arrangements as ever—as on the wafting horn/woodwind outro of "What's Wrong." It would be a stretch to call this their "rock album" or to see it as some great departure in style; it is, however, an impressive sharpening of their sound.
Eric Grandy, Google Play