Grizzly Bear - Shields
Critic Score
Based on 37 reviews
2012 Ratings: #77 / 1094
Year End Rank: #10
User Score
Based on 602 ratings
2012 Ratings: #29
Liked by 16 people
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An album that somehow shares the stage with the band’s origins while sounding faraway and gone from them.

God Is in the TV

This is not just any album; it is the best album of 2012 and quite possibly of many more years to come. Prepare yourself to be dazzled.


Though full of baroque, detail-rich production and latticework melodies, Shields also offers an emotionally resonant core.

A.V. Club

Delicate beauty and refined presentation still rule on the Brooklyn mainstay’s fourth album, Shields, but the balance is subtly shifting.

Pretty Much Amazing

Shields works because of its complexity rather than in spite of it. 


This is an ensemble that seems to have reached a sort of pinnacle in collaboration and musical communication.


While Shields may mark a transition for the band in terms of the immediate emotional impact of their music, it is clear that they have not in any way abandoned their expansive approach to melody and song structure. 

Consequence of Sound

Shields growls and purrs in ways Grizzly Bear has never before.

American Songwriter

What’s most remarkable about Shields is not so much that Grizzly Bear have gotten more comfortable with ratcheting up the intensity, but rather that they’ve arrived upon a sound that’s louder and fuzzier while maintaining a uniquely ornate beauty.

Under The Radar

The album is filled with wonderful little moments that add up to create a remarkable whole. 


Though at time reaching heavenly heights, Shields is, as the name suggests, a heavy, protected album, stuffy with an ennui particular to the young and gifted.

Drowned in Sound

Any mention of Shields being slightly more up front and rougher around the edges is not to say that isn't still beautiful. 

The 405

The praise for this album must also be given to their ability to keep up their standard of timeless, mood-enhancing music.


While it's not as obviously big a statement as Veckatimest was, Shields is plenty ambitious in its own right, and its complexity demands and rewards patient listening.


Beautiful as Grizzly Bear is, they remain an emotionally cloistered lover, willing only to speak in vagaries, never of concrete emotional needs.

The Fly

Though there are several tracks here that make for a less immediate listen, the record overfl ows with the tell-tale nuances of a band who have learnt how to translate grandiosity into something more restrained, yet no less forceful.

Rolling Stone

With Shields, they still sound like Radiohead at a Buddhist retreat, but the songs are more muscular.

Time Out London

The complexity and jumpy qualities of the band's 2009 classic 'Veckatimest' have been replaced by smooth, rolling, road trip music.


‘Shields’ is an engrossing, beautiful work which could only come from Grizzly Bear, and only at this point in their career. Stunning.


If their painstaking studiocraft has in the past seemed over-refined or even fussy, here they’ve discovered a new wildness, a liberating sense of drama.

The Guardian

More often, it sounds as if Grizzly Bear have spent their time away digging out the emotions that sometimes get buried beneath the technical fireworks.

Beats Per Minute

Shields is both well-mannered and demanding, subdued but always bubbling under the surface. 


Conservative ... describes Shields: Veckatimest authorized it to be far bolder. You yearn for what could’ve been.


For all the strange twists and turns, the rich layers and dark beauty to be found, nothing here grabs you and sets up home in your heart like ‘Veckatimest’ did. 

No Ripcord

The hard work they put into Shields deserves recognition, even if it occasionally strikes as too labored and considered.

The Line of Best Fit

There’s more than enough here to interest the brain, the feet, and most things in between.

Crack Magazine

It feels a little unfair to criticise Grizzly Bear for producing what is essentially the definitive example of a sound they’ve been slowly perfecting over the last eight years, but unfortunately the accomplishment here is met with an unexpected level of predictability.

The Skinny

Shields might not quite leave the mark you may have been expecting once the dust settles, but unlike their previous albums’ predilection with time and place, it’s the journey rather than the destination that matters.

Slant Magazine

Pretty but formless, Shields plays like a calculated retreat into something altogether indistinct and inconsequential.

NOW Magazine

Shields is not going to grab you, but it rewards patience.

The Needle Drop

With Shields, the New York psych folk outfit Grizzly Bear makes a move toward subtlety, toning down some of the bright, poppy moments that made 2009's Veckatimest such a powerhouse.

Toning the down more pop oriented sound from Veckatimest and going for a more subtle indie rock center sound was in my opinion a smart choice, for a record which is just as good as their previous effort with a more mature sound and lyrics. Shields, ultimately is a nice progression for Grizzly Bear showing how far they have matured as musicians.

Track Review

Sleeping Ute 9/10
Speak in Rounds 8.5/10.
Adelma 7/10
Yet Again 9.5/10
The Hunt 8/10
A Simple Answer 8.5/10.
What's Wrong ... read more
Shields is yet another example of Grizzly Bear conjuring up masterclasses in how to conform a great indie rock using extremely lush and delicate aesthetics, progressive structures and phenomenal storytelling and lyricism from both Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen. Although the album seems to be more up-tempo and having less drowsy or dark moments than that of Yellow House or even Veckatimest, this thing is packed with plenty of amazing tracks that focus on amazing musicianship as well as captivating ... read more
Lol ummm I mean I do like a lot of the material on here but what on EARTH is up with how great of a reception this got? I'm willing to believe this album just hasn't clicked for me and maybe it will someday but at the moment I hear literally nothing special. I was hoping for like a Halcyon Digest type album I guess but did not get that.
It's the subtleties in this album that make it for me. They don't seem too important, but I can't imagine the same weight the album brings without them. This is Grizzly Bear's most mature release by far, and a big step in the genre of 'Baroque Pop' to me.
I can see the appeal with Grizzly Bear. I think, I THINK, a college friend of mine showed me this band and played some of their songs and it was music that I could genuinely nod and say "hey, this shit good" and not pretend just so they could quit showing me more, but I actually liked it and wanted to hear more. However, as time passed, he and I grew distant and I never did check them out like I originally intended to. It got to the point where this band was just on the permanent back ... read more
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Added on: July 9, 2012