GRIZZLY BEAR play Massey Hall on September 26. See listing. Rating: NNN
Grizzly Bear aren't writing for the masses on their lush and interesting fourth album. Their 10 songs often pull in several different directions at once and go on strange experimental tangents, usually during the last few minutes. The first relatively hooky tune comes not via lead single and opening track Sleeping Ute, but in fourth song Yet Again, which establishes a clear and immediate groove and has hummable melodies on offer. It arrives like sweet relief.
The Brooklyn band's signature choir-like vocals, led by Ed Droste and Daniel Rossen, with backups by Chris Taylor and Christopher Bear, are on display, though the angelic harmonies that made their previous album, Veckatimest, such a breakthrough are lower in the mix - more an effect than a feature.
The Hunt dips into melancholic Radiohead territory, Droste gives good vocal on the propulsive A Simple Answer, and Half Gate grows into an art-rocky epic. Seven-minute closer Sun In Your Eyes, meanwhile, is booming, sweeping and a little bit hippie.
Shields is not going to grab you, but it rewards patience.
Top track: Half Gate