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Bears 

Bears (bearspop.com)

The Bears' self-titled debut is a collection of beautiful indie pop-rock along the lines of Simon and Garfunkel or Belle and Sebastian. Like the score to a Wes Anderson movie, the songs are heartbreaking and intensely catchy.

Live, the band expands into a sextet. In the studio, there are just two Bears: Craig Ramsey (drummer for Lovekill, Kiddo, and Ascension) and Charlie McArthur (former guitarist for Ache:Emelie). The two use classic nonelectronic instrumentation, layering acoustic guitar, electric and acoustic pianos, and bells. On tracks like "Daydream," well-placed one-note guitar patterns interact with the subtle rhythm perfectly. Each song has a unique sound, from the Pixies-like opening chord progression of "Still Alright" to the car-trippin' groove of "Walk Away." The recurring lyrical theme is love, and all the elements work to form a near-perfect pop release from this excellent new group.

More by Joe Minadeo

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