Album Reviews

Bears: Bears [Album Review]

Bears, Pop Band

How many bands these days have a xylophone? Very few. It’s just one of the many things that make Bears (MySpace) special. On their self-titled debut, the Cleveland, Ohio pop group mixes its pop sensibilities with light psychedelia on par with early Of Montreal and Elephant 6 style-recordings. Lumped into that somewhat classic era in more modern pop music would make it seem like Bears have a lot to live up to, but with such a strong debut, the group appears to have already succeeded.

While the similarities to Elephant 6 and Of Montreal are readily apparent, ties to 60s and 70s pop are not nearly as straightforward. For example, “How To Live” has hints of the instrumentation backing The Byrds and The Zombies. Despite these ties, Bears’ music is quite unique. Their mix of xylophone with reverberated jangle-y guitars and cymbal heavy percussion, and soft, almost undetectable keys give it the psychedelic wave. This is extremely apparent in “Still Alright” and “Everywhere”.

Another unique factor about Bears is their ability to not only mesh pop with psychedelia, but also add a country swagger as they do in “Walk Away” and “Days”. Leading into “Walk Away” is “Never Have To Guess”, a track that hails Bears as a strong and relevant force in the world of indie-pop. Closing the album in a most fitting way, “Stay” combines all the aspects of pop and psychedelic daze and even a light country shuffle, leaving the listener in awe and with the desire to continually return for more.

This review was originally published October 9, 2006 on the old version of FensePost.

Bears: Walk Away [mp3]

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Bears: When You’re Away [mp3]

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Bears by Bears

[CD, 2006]

1. Never Have To Guess
2. Walk Away
3. How To Live
4. Everywhere
5. When You’re Away
6. Still Alright
7. Daydreams
8. Over It
9. Days
10. Things I Should Say
11. Goodbye Song
12. Still The Same
13. Stay

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