September 19th, 2012 1:00am

Letting My Tongue Swell

Grizzly Bear “Speak In Rounds”

Grizzly Bear, even in their blandest moments, excel in composing interlocking guitar parts that weave rhythmic elements from folk with the textures of art rock. That’s Sonic Youth’s trick too, at least from Daydream Nation onward, but Grizzly Bear are far more invested in the aesthetics of folk, and entirely avoid any trace of punk or glam. Shields isn’t quite on par with the band’s previous album – Veckatimest has better, more elegant melodic hooks – but it has a better structure as an LP, and an evocative atmosphere that’s hard to pin down but essentially sounds like someone feeling very pensive in the autumn. It’s a ridiculously autumnal album, and I can see why they chose to release it just as school season kicks in again – can’t you just imagine all the skinny white kids listening to this on headphones as they walk to their classes? “Speak In Rounds” is my favorite, and the track that comes closest to the introverted melodrama of “Fine For Now” or “While You Wait For the Others.” It’s about some kind of codependent entanglement, but given the sound of it, how could that be a surprise?

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