Monday, 16 December 2013

#224: Grizzly Bear - Shields: Expanded

Originally released in September 2012, Grizzly Bear’s Shields was a wonderfully rich album of lush compositions and textures. Musically it was an adventurous step for the band, expanding on the ground laid by three previous albums in almost every aspect; lyrically it saw the band expand even further, weaving a loose narrative thread deftly in to a dense patchwork of contemporary folk and neo-psych in what was an important decision for the band. “For this record, it was really important for us to try and make sure that lyrics had a weight to them and at least some sense of a narrative” proclaimed bassist and producer Chris Taylor There were lyrics in previous albums that seemed to have no meaning whatsoever. And that always really annoyed me.” Fortunately for Taylor, it seems as if his wishes came true, as the lyricism across Shields manages to distil an almost feeling of both romantic and platonic distance, that always teeters on the edge of loneliness, without ever headlong in to the gaping abyss beneath. Now, fourteen months after the record’s initial release, the band have released Shields: Expanded, a collection of b-sides and remixes that never made the album’s original cut but are finally seeing the light of day.