Music Review – Bear Mountain

Band: Bear Mountain
Album: Badu

Vancouver’s Bear Mountain is back with their sophomore album Badu. Released September 9th, Badu is the much anticipated follow-up to Bear Mountain’s critically acclaimed debut XO, and fans of the band’s unique electronic-indie sound will love this album.

Founded in 2011, Bear Mountain has steadily been turning heads with their catchy beats and captivating vocals. Even their live shows have been referred to as “daring performances” and “seeing them live is a unique, whirlwind experience” (http://www.indoorrecess.com/bear-mountain-premieres-new-track/). Bear Mountain has been involved in several music festivals, including The Governor’s Ball, Lollapalooza, The Fader Fort at SXSW, Austin City Limits, and Sasquatch. Consisting of singer/songwriter Ian Bevis, guitarist Kyle Statham, Ian’s twin brother on the drums Greg Bevis, and creative director Kenji Rodriguez, Bear Mountain is a band without compare in the world of music today.

While their music brings to mind beats from the 80s and reverberated vocals like that once heard from Fine Young Cannibals, the music varies so widely from track to track that it is difficult to pin down.

Take, for example, Badu’s opening track “Badu.” While you might be thinking that you’re seeing double, this album arrangement is a brilliant move. “Badu” sums up the album perfectly. This electronically driven number is an eclectic blend of tribal drums, simple choppy vocals, fizzling electric effects, and sultry jazz. Mainly, “Badu” is made up of sounds that you would never expect to hear together, yet the brilliant minds behind Bear Mountain made it work.

The remainder of the album is a similar jumble of sounds and musical elements. “Always Been You” is primarily an electronic ballad with pop-music vocals. Yet, because of the upbeat dance rhythm, it isn’t bogged down by the mainstream feel, that is, it doesn’t feel like every other pop song out there.

“Hopeful” is another track worth mentioning. The lighthearted beats and melodies are perfectly juxtaposed with the more dramatic lyrics. Then the inclusion of vocals that bring to mind powerful 80s love songs makes “Hopeful” is an impressive and well-composed track. In a world where music sometimes feels like it has been haphazardly tossed together, like a cookie-cutter version of the song before it, it is clear on Badu that every note that the boys of Bear Mountain play is a purposeful attempt to create something new, beautiful, fun, and magical.

In essence, Badu is an electronic album with fantastic dance beats. However, if you are looking for great abstract sounds to listen to while studying or reading, Badu is the album for you. Just be sure to keep your feet in check for they may catch the rhythm and get carried away on the epic beats.

Samantha currently uses her skills as a writer to promote independent musicians and raise awareness and support for many global, environmental, and humanitarian issues. Check out her website and blog at: http://sstevenswriter.wix.com/writer

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