Bear Vs. Shark met a terrible fate a few months ago. The band decided to part after a few years and two albums. Their first was a new kind of sound, something that I considered revolutionary. Bear Vs. Shark had a way of combining indie-pop guitar riffs with lots of screaming thrown in the mix. It made the music sound harsh, yet poetic in the way it sounded happy and angry at the same time. The only way to decipher the meaning of the song would be to look at the lyrics (good luck listening to them). The sound isn’t all I find attractive though. The vocals satisfied my sweet tooth as well, the scruffy toned yells emitted from the music can make you shiver at times.
Terrorhawk is the band’s second, and last album. It captures some really heavy moments, and at times can be perceived as progressive. The funny thing, is that when the songs may be slow, the vocals are still delivered in a growly voice that completely contradicts the music. Compared to the band’s last record, this is a tad slower and more drawn-out. It also has some tracks on it where you can hear some light horns to occupy the flow of the song. Musically, the two cds are about the same. But the vocals department has had a major overhaul. There’s more screaming, and it’s as furious as ever. To quote Pitchfork Media, “Beneath Terrorhawk's ripped chords, frantic tempos and dudefaced vocals, there's a dewy-eyed indie rock record whimpering to be let out.”
I’d say that’s a great way to sum this paragraph up.
The song “Catamaran” would have to be my favorite here. The muted strings to begin the song carry it all the way to the final chorus. It just makes you want to dance. It has some great lyrics worth quoting, “Got your bones spread out on the dance floor, chomping bits on your way to the supermarket. Well respected, well received, the piano and the luggage own the reason that we all are faking it!” This would be one of the more post-hardcore oriented tracks on the record. But as mentioned before, there are better songs that are slower, and much more progressive. “Baraga Embankment” is definitely the best slower song on Terrorhawk. It begins with dreary piano and slow singing. Then the distorted chords kick in and the true magic happens. This is also one of the tracks with the horns in it, for a truly stunning effect. Is it me, or does this song give a mafia-esque tone? The screams are unforgiving, relentless and “just don’t give a damn”. The song opens with “the kitty cats did scream oh how they howled behind the house – well, the big one laying in the frying pan”. This is a great track that deserves a listen.
You can’t really review this album without looking at the big picture though. Many of the songs are forgettable, and there’s not much variation in them. The album is good while you’re listening, but then you soon realize that a lot of it is the same. Whether it’s the “AY AY!” you hear in many of the songs, after a big scream, or just the fact that the riffs never change tone. The first five tracks are freakin’ glorious. But the rest are just on the borderline of being good. If they could have kept the pace going the whole album, then this would be “five” material. But it just seems that much of it was filler.
In conclusion, this was a nice attempt, with somewhat of a good outcome. It’s a love it, or hate it relationship with this album. It may seem amazing at first, but it will let you down with later listens. But the first few tracks never get old, that is for sure.
5, 6 Kids
Seven Stop Hold Restart