Artist: The Bunny The Bear
Album: The Stomach For It
I’m predicating the entire review on the assumption that this is not a serious band, but a bunch of dudes who decided to wash some pills down with vodka and go into a recording studio. You couldn’t honestly release this and not say it’s not all a bit of mischief. Were it a joke, one could have a sense of humour and say that it’s a grand parody of the current spate of sub-par bands who feel the need to disguise their lack of talent behind a wall of electro noises. If it is intended as a serious endeavor however, feel free to start questioning your sanity.
The curious thing is, the music itself isn’t that bad – it’s the vocals that destroy everything. Don’t get me wrong now, the music is dreadful, but you could probably shrug it off if there was anything by way of personality leading the charge. This tremulous vocal twosome have aimed for grit and gumption and achieved neither. They switch from awkward karaoke machine (clean singing) to stubbed toe on a nail (heavy/growling/screaming). The clean vocals in particular are so shaky and plastic that they sound like an extended joke to which no one knows the punchline. It’s all quite wearying, especially because we’ve heard it all before from equally awful bands that yet managed to be better than this. There is, simply, no rhyme or reason to this music – it is experimental mediocrity for mediocrity’s sake, and even the most laid-back critic has to roll their eyes and wonder what artist or band with genuine talent and vision got shoved out of the way for this manufactured lobotomy.
It’s very difficult to critique something you can’t take seriously, but here goes. “Congregation” is a terse, brief opener with wailing, soundbites, and electro medleys. “Sky” is a mixture of aimlessly filler guitars and synth effects, which then obligingly interrupt themselves for breakdowns that sound like the aural equivalent of a cockfight. It’s turgid and silly, yet the most depressing thing is I can hear how easily people would like it. Mindless stupidity sells, friends, and bemusement might win over reason here. “All Birds” is a mad rush tempered with the occasional moment of cringing reflection. The conflicting swell of effects sounds entirely experimental, and I still can’t escape the feeling that it’s one elaborate, bubblegum joke. It is quite rhythmic though, so it might win favour for that.
“This Isn’t Why You Made Her” is like listening to arcade sound effects, set to someone having a nervous breakdown. A werewolf-like mixture of growling vocals ensues while the electro refrains bump noisily off bruising chorus riffs. “Soul” is intriguing me however, if only because there’s someone in the background doing a remarkable impression of Patrick Stump. If that person should happen to be Patrick himself, please, look in the mirror, remind yourself how talented you are, and run 4000 miles in the opposite direction.
“Breeze” is downright amateur, with a gaping void where its artistic compulsion should be and lots of delirious shouting to drown out your cognitive faculties. “Lonely, Lonely, Lonely” actually has quite a promising overture, with xylophone-like synth notes creating some rare, brash appeal. However, this is swiftly discarded in favour of guttural singing duels and chaotic instruments. “Pieces” takes the vocal awkwardness to new levels of hideous, usurping its nascent attempt at emotion with spiralling synth effects. The sporadic interjection of screaming and growling adds to what is already a perplexing mess – much like one of those contemporary art paintings that people try to pass off as relevant and deep, which are in reality the combination of eight exploded tins of paint on a blank canvas. It’s lazy, derivative, and pretentious. “It Kills Me” also opens ambitiously and has a furiously insistent beat, to its credit. However, the searing lack of vocal personality is ruinous, belittling the song to the extent of self-mockery.
Now, I can see why people like this. I can. The tastes of the majority have become so diluted and distilled that they will literally accept anything that’s even bordering on alternative. The youth of today might like to pretend they’re listening to something hardcore and edgy because this pair can make throaty rasping noises over a synth wheel, but that is not music, children. The ease with which one puts together a car crash with contemporary technology is astounding, and the only thing more astounding is that there are people out there willing to forfeit their brain cells to listen to this. Cast off the temporary effects of aural acid and embrace your brain. You are an intelligent, discerning person, and you can do better than this. We assume.
(Before you commenters enquire, I don’t listen to Justin Bieber, but he appreciates your support.)
Review written by Grace Duffy