A horrible hack

Bear vs Shark

And If Something Isn't Quite Right...

Year Released: 2003
Format: CD
Label: Equal Vision
 
Reviewed by Andy Malcolm on Jun 13, 2007
I am probably supposed to really hate this record. It's on Equal Vision, and the only band I recognise in their thanks list is Thursday. But it's actually quite good. A combination of At the Drive In, Braid and Jets to Brazil would be a good start for comparison junkies. The promo sheet mentions they are influenced by the Commodores? Word, Lionel Ritchie is well reknowned for his post-emo these days I guess. Easy like a Sunday evening. I think the vocals are probably the only bit about their music that doesn't always click with me, because the rest is well solid. It has happy go lucky bouncy rhythms that are suitably summery, and nice melodic parts that breakdown and go indie rock. Sometimes the vocals are sung (scarily) like Blake in JtB, but sometimes they are just a little too over-the-top, the guy bursts into yells and has quite a growl - it doesn't fit this style of music for me personally, but it's not really all that bad - if you like "In Casino Out" then I guess that is a pointer. And he does some of those good ole boyish whoops on one song, heh! Thought they had gone the way of the dodo.

I can pinpoint the exact period of time I would have gone totally nuts over hearing this (December '98), and it's a sound I have been having a bit of a revival for this summer - I think I am getting old. I could definitely fit a few of Bear vs Shark's songs onto a mixtape of stuff that I would listen to on long walks in the middle of nowhere, Norfolk, rocking out the air guitar on a country lane with (hopefully) no-one in sight. I particularly recall one song on the tape that I use for such purposes by a band called the Killingtons. I am all about that song when I am out for a walk with the walkman whirring. I have no idea who they are, but it rocks big time!

I think if you enjoy some of the older Deep Elm output and that post-emo indie-rock that surfaced all too briefly after Braid and the Promise Ring went their respective ways (before Jimmy Eat World and the Get Up Kids 2nd LP rendered irreparable damage to the sound) and can handle a more modern take on the vocals you will be well into Bear vs Shark. Their name intrigues me though (in fact, it's the only reason I kept this record before sending it someone else for review without listening to it), my good buddy Simon recommended a book with the same title not so long ago. Anyways. I grudgingly admit that I liked this more than I probably should. Bummer.

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