Frontier Psychiatrist

Grizzly Bear has a knack for making straight up gorgeous songs.  Fortunately, the acclaimed foursome aspires to more than penning emotional ballads to play over indie rom-com closing credits and Volkswagen commercials.  After a year of relentless touring on 2009’s much-loved Veckatimest, followed by a period of intense soul-searching and a novel experience in the studio, the stellar new album Shields, released on September 18, shows that Grizzly Bear has opted in to being a band for the long haul.

On Shields, the band members share more song-writing responsibilities than in the past, with encouraging results.  Lead singers Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen split the crooning almost evenly.  Rossen’s tinny, more anguished wail is well-matched to the assault of opener “Sleeping Ute,” which vacillates between syncopated gasps of self-discovery and yawning acceptance.  Sung by Droste, “Speak in Rounds” feels like the direct descendant of Veckatimest’s “Southern…

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