Track Review: Grizzly Bear – “Yet Again”

[Warp; 2012]

In a year that has already seen a number of impressive releases, Grizzly Bear’s Shields is still one of the major anticipated albums yet to be released. But they’ve been keeping everyone updated with the album’s progress via Facebook and Twitter. And recently they revealed the track list and the first single, “Sleeping Ute.” Last week, not only did they announce that they will be playing Stephen Colbert’s “StePhest Colbchella ‘012: RocktAugustFest,” but they gave us another single in “Yet Again.”

Whereas “Sleeping Ute” featured Daniel Rossen’s vocals, “Yet Again” features Ed Droste on lead vocals. There are a couple of noticeable differences that we haven’t heard from them before, which are good things. The first is the refined, high-quality production of the track. In the past, they’ve approached their recording with a more lo-fi approach, even though it wasn’t that prominent with Veckatimest. But the vocals were never so clearly in the forefront and would, at times, get lost in the mix. Here, however, the vocals are clear and distinct, being the primary center of attention.

The second difference is that it’s more up-tempo and faster paced than we’ve heard in the past, specifically Chris Bear’s tom-heavy percussion. Of course, the usual Grizzly Bear characteristics are still there, like the multi-layered harmonies and catchy and hypnotic melodies. There’s even a subtle omnichord that wavers in the background (if not that, then electronic synths). Not to mention Droste’s dreamy, soothing, and warm tenor, singing about trying to have better communication, but to no avail in the chorus: “Take it all in stride/ Speak, don’t confide/ We barely have a case/ It’s done before we try.” The song closes with a blistering, psychedelic-like guitar lick that’s riddled with distortion and delay.

“Yet Again” demonstrates that Shields may show a side of Grizzly Bear that we haven’t seen before. And I’m sure that has everyone buzzing with excitement and anticipation. With this being their fourth album, it’s great to see that they are progressing their experimental folk sound to new territory. Shields is out on September 18th on Warp Records.