July 31, 2009

Bears! Bears! Bears!
What I Do In the Dark

San Jose, CA
Recorded at Popsmear Studios in San Rafael, CA and Hyde Street Studios in
San Francisco, CA | self-produced | Mixed by Scott McDowell at Hyde
Street Studios in San Francisco, CA | Mastered by Daniel Mckenzie

Bears! Bears! Bears! exists for the same reason we have Kobe beef hamburgers, Budweiser Select and the Corolla “S.” They are a value-added concept; a refined take on something simple; the familiar made better. In these most competitive of days, human rock simply doesn’t cut it, so this cunning trio of youthful gentlemen propose the logical progression: bear rock.

Like Interpol, except cheekier (and furrier), the San Jose natives excel at making dark, danceable post-punk music suitable for house parties, pre-gaming for a Cure concert, going to see a Tim Burton flick, and [insert hipster and/or goth-approved activity]. Frontman Phillip Calá takes the best chapters from an imaginary Lou Reed to Julian Casablancas: Lessons in Atonal Singing and adapts their melodic bits over skin-tight rhythms sharpened by Ricky Rios’ angular, ringing riffs. The opening power combo of “I Guess We’re Both Lonely” and the popping, coming-of-age bromance, “Julian,” particularly glow – the former because it could have sneaked onto side two of
Turn on the Bright Lights and the latter because it’s genuinely heart-warming. And, oh yeah, catchy as hell.

The refreshingly giddy whoa-oh-ohs in the chorus of “Julian” translates as follows: we get it. See, what distinguishes B!B!B! (or is it B!x3?) from their self-absorbed peers is that they’re in on their own joke. And so for all the visual shtick and song titles like “Bear Bands vs. Wolf Bands” (score one for bear bands!), you also get lines like, “Now I’m older and I understand/no matter what I do, somebody will hate me based off where I stand.” Intelligent, right? You could even say, smarter than the average band?

Wink wink, nod nod – that’s the spirit here. So, yes, they wear masks, and it does get dicey trying to reconcile the gimmicky from the genuine. But rest assured, this is a step up, a giant evolutionary leap in the right direction – not your father’s new wave band, your much cooler trail guide’s new wave band. (self-released)
-Robbie Hilson


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