Polar Bear Club
Sometimes Things Just Disappear


2.5
average

Review

by Nick Greer EMERITUS
May 22nd, 2008 | 8 replies


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Paper thin

Polar Bear Club - Sometimes Things Just Disappear

When Polar Bear Club released their debut EP, The Redder, the Better, it felt like a giant log drop into the blogosphere. Critics and fans (though the difference between the two are debatable with regard to underground punk artists) alike rallied around the pop punk melodies, the energetic songwriting, and the gruff vocals. This excitement is not a bad thing at all, but it just feels like too many people are looking for the next Hot Water Music (though HWM may be the new HWM as they are already reuniting). Polar Bear Club carried the torch well, but they hadn't been tested by a true full length LP, which can be the making or unmaking of any small and earnest punk artist.

Sometimes Things Just Disappear is their submission to the punk world for official review. The short of it is that this album is not as good as their EP, and will go down as underwhelming despite not having any salient flaws. I really mean that. I can't find any egregious errors throughout this album. At least when looking critically at an Avenged Sevenfold album, there's a whole lot to point out. The story here is that Sometimes Things Just Disappear is a good album with good songs with good verses, chorus, and bridges with good instrumental playing and good lyrics, but ultimately everything feels flat.

I attribute this failure to the legacy of Hot Water Music. Polar Bear Club are greatly indebted to Hot Water Music for blending meat and potatoes rock, with a punk mentality, pop punk hooks, and post-hardcore riffing. Their sound is defined by the aforementioned genre splicings and is a successful merging of those ideas. The guitar riffs are sufficiently angular but also catchy. The rhythm section is just off of center, providing a little bit of intrigue along with the punk galloping. The vocals are a mix of gruff and melodious, with a mix of shouting and singing. However, these songs don't have the visceral impact and x factor of a lot of Hot Water Music tracks. "Tried" sounds like paper thin version of HWM's "Paper Thin" without the swinging choruses. A lot of the songs on this album are oddly slow too. Polar Bear Club don't mind cruising in a sallow 6/8 until a song drags. Even if the groove is thick and the riffs are fun, the song can still get bogged down.

However, just looking at Sometimes Things Just Disappear as a weak rendition of HWM's Greatest Hits, ignores the better moments on the album. "Bug Parade" works as a slow burner because of the interplay between the bass and the drums on the verses and the above par gruff vocals of the chorus. "Our Ballads" is a rollicking good time and actually paces itself well, building up to an emphatic ending, gang vocals and all. This album sounds almost as if it could have been written by Set Your Goals on a good day, or Bouncing Souls trying really hard to write inventive parts on a bad day. Even the goofy "Heart Attack at Thirty" is imbued with a weird Bad Religion vibe with the sustained full minor bar chords.

Ultimately, this album isn't bad, but it's far from being great. Polar Bear Club would do well to just listen to the song "Resent and Resistance" from their debut EP. That track perfectly blended a huge, slow riff with impassioned vocals, and fun guitar riffs. Also, none of those weak clean voice vocals moonlit as lead vocals. They went Chuck Ragan all the way on that one. The content on Sometimes Things Just Disappear feels like a prolix doppelganger of "Resent and Resistance."



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Comments:Add a Comment 
iamrockzorz
June 13th 2008


1029 Comments


So much better than their first ep. So, no.

fractured
June 27th 2008


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Apparently I need the E.P. to make me as disappointed as Greer, but I like this. Sounds like Hot Water, but better than anything they've put out in 10 years.

fractured
July 2nd 2008


386 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I agree with rockzorz, no.

Intransit
July 28th 2008


2797 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Haven't heard their first EP, but saying that this is better than anything HWM has put out in 10 years is so ridiculously off that I should slap you. Caution and A Flight and a Crash are both ridiculously good, with Caution edging out AFAAC for me now. Sure No Division and Fuel are both sick too and I find it really hard to say one is better than the other but regardless. This band is not as good as Hot Water Music, period. And to claim hot water music has been worse than this band for ten years deserves a facepalm.

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
July 20th 2017


19113 Comments


need to check this

DeadlyNightShade
July 20th 2017


1681 Comments


Maybe, I'll give this a listen to I never really delved into their discog but Living Saints off of Chasing Hamburg was so catchy when I heard it awhile back.

Digging: Enter Shikari - The Spark

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
September 6th 2017


19113 Comments


yeah listening to this rn. reminds me of Gnarwolves

Satellite
September 6th 2017


25477 Comments


these guys were (are?) always infinitely better live than on record. 'our ballads' goes hard.

Digging: The Mountain Goats - Marsh Witch Visions



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