Grizzly Bear’s new LP Painted Ruins features the song “Neighbors.” Its first verse is as follows: [LISTEN]

In a way, those words could sum up the feeling of listening to this album. Five long years after the release of Shields, Grizzly Bear delivers more or less the same old cryptic lyrics, winsomely quirky tunes and intricate arrangements of past opuses.

Outlets like Vulture and Noisey have tried framing the new album’s themes of disconnection and disorientation within the context of our fractious political climate. These verses from “Glass Hillside” would seem to support such a move: [LISTEN]

But frankly — and despite vocalist Ed Droste’s political outspokenness — Painted Ruins feels too tame and kempt to have the resonance that some critics would ascribe to it. The music is looser and livelier than has been Grizzly Bear’s norm, but it’s got nothing on, say, the fierce focus and surging uplift of Broken Social Scene’s Hug of Thunder (whose cryptic lyrics, incidentally, are far more resonant than anything served up here).

By comparison, Painted Ruins has the urgency of roaming through the countryside on an ATV, which just so happens to be the subject of its opening track, “Wasted Acres:” [LISTEN]

Still, it’s nice to roam through the countryside now and again. Painted Ruins’ unhurried grooves and serene harmonies make its 48 minutes and 34 seconds go by pleasantly enough.

Devoted fans will cherish the trip — and possibly dig for references to Droste’s divorce in the lyrics — but the un-converted may simply shrug at the pretty ponderousness of it all.