When Grizzly Bear fails to move me – and they failed quite often on their last album Veckatimest – it’s because they settle for a pretty sound that is seemingly satisfied with being pretty and little else. On Thursday, the band released “Yet Again”, the second taste of its upcoming fourth LP, Shields. And while “Yet Again” is pretty and lacks a clear-cut destination, Ed Droste’s wistful vocals, buttressed by gorgeous multi-layered harmonies and Daniel Rossen’s melancholy guitar, prevent the track from becoming the musical equivalent of wallpaper. It is the type of track that signals a change is blowing, albeit an uncomfortable one. The fall can be a lovely time of year, after all.
Shields is off to a soaring start. It has two winners so far – “Sleeping Ute”, being the other. I am restricting my expectations at this point. I recall how Veckatimest’s first two tracks released were “Two Weeks” and “While You Wait For The Others”, both of which were/are amazing. The album did not stand up to those two songs. Here’s hoping Grizzly Bear hasn’t revealed its entire hand too soon this time around.