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Since forming in 2002 Brooklyn band Grizzly Bear have honed a talent for song-writing that takes pop music as the starting point but then always subtly shifts it in unexpected ways. It’s this way of playing with the familiar that has made them such a good fit for Warp Records, who the band have released their last four albums with. Shields, the band’s last full length effort for the label, remains an exceptional album and now they’ve released a collection of B-sides, which include new original productions and remixes.
If it sounds like this might be a throwaway handful of tracks off the cutting room floor then worry not - Shields: B-Sides is the equal of the album it is descended from. ‘Smothering Green’ begins the release, soaring pop delivered in the endearingly quavering tones of singer Ed Droste. ‘Everyone I Know (Marfa Demo)’ is more intimate, delicate webs of sparse guitar showing the groups compositional skills are just as strong when stripped down. ‘Will Calls (Marfa Demo)’ is similarly restrained, the gentle thud of bass and percussion entwined with Droste’s touching falsetto and barely there keys and strings, before the final rush and instrumental clamour of the track’s closing moments takes over.
The remixes are stunning too: Nicolas Jaar's laid-back and atmospheric take on 'Sleeping Ute' is hypnotic, while Liars offer up clouds of bewitching ambience and Lindstrom adds chugging disco beats to 'gun-shy'. All serve as reminders of the versatility of Grizzly Bear’s sound, rounding off a fine collection.