Review Summary: "We all need to stop looking up and look in to find who we are"
As someone who spends a disgustingly large part of my life involved with music in some way or another, it pains me to say this but it's true, it gets harder and harder to not end up becoming yet another jaded asshole that fails to be impressed by anything and claims to have heard everything. While I'll admit that sometimes “that guy” peaks his head out, much to my detriment, thankfully whenever he does an album or band comes along that puts him back in his place and reminds me why I spend so much time immersed in music in the first place. Brother Bear is one of those bands.
Hailing from the Bay area suburb of Santa Rosa, California, Brother Bear's combination of traditional screamo and modern post-hardcore is absolutely beautiful. Their debut EP Head in the Clouds
comes off as a cross between Moving Mountain's post-rock tinged serenity and Pianos Become the Teeth's minimalistic catharsis. It waxes and wanes between elegant delay driven passages and the raw intensity that lies in their hardcore heart. Each track builds and builds, waiting ever so patiently for the perfect moment to burst free from its restraints, and when it does the results are nothing short of spectacular. At its peak it is as if every word screamed from vocalist Johnny Andrews is a plea for absolution, and every note plucked, strummed, or hit resounds to match the fury of his performance. Further enhancing the soft-loud dynamics displayed on Head in the Coulds
is Brother Bear's superb use of audio samples that act as interludes throughout the EP's twenty minute run time as they quickly and rather poignantly, ala Shai Hulud, set the mood for things to come.
For a band that only formed in 2010, Brother Bear are already off to one incredible start. It's rare for most bands to create a work as fully realized and executed as Head in the Clouds
over the course of their careers, and here Brother Bear have done just that on their first try. If this is only a glimpse of things to come, Brother Bear could soon be house hold names in the emotional hardcore world.