Texas has been a breeding ground for amazing talent (as it always has); and indie rock lads Black Hole Bears are no different. Having released their debut self titled EP earlier this year, the boys have put the pedal to the metal and hit the ground running.
If you are looking for something rigid, experimental, and abrasive…..I’m here to inform you Black Hole Bears may not be the fix your looking for. If you’re looking for something smooth, melodic, and fairly laid back…..then Black Hole Bears may be your jive. Falling somewhere between the blues bar rock of “The Black Keys” or the emo-tized, self-deprecation of indie rockers like “Augustana”, Black Hole Bears deliver a smooth product that hearkens back to mainstream influences of old and new. The band doesn’t waste time trying to flex any technical prowess (until the final track), but rather work as a cohesive unit to lure you in for the duration of the album instead. Power chords, lightly picked guitars, synthesizers, bass, and drums jam out some fine alternative rock with emotional flare behind the crooning, remorseful vocals.
I have to say however, the band’s strongest/weakest focal point on the album lies within the vocals. The vocals are delivered with skill and conviction throughout the Ep, but you can tell there’s more to the voice than displayed here. I think with more time under his belt and a dash more confidence amazing things will be done with this guy vocally.
Now onto the songs. It’s hard to pick which songs are the “key cuts” because this is an incredibly solid release from front to back. Opener “Not” and closer “Chicken Friday” are the more rocking tracks on the album. “Not” starts of with loud power chords as synthesizers lead the way (Rush’s “Tom Sawyer” immediately comes to mind). A rather riff/synth heavy track that starts off the album in an energetic fashion. “Chicken Friday” we really see the guitars take the spotlight with some commanding riffage and a blistering solo that make you want to shred along. This track kind of breaks away from the conventional “verse-chorus-verse-chorus” structure and really sends the album out on a high note. “Under the Moon” and “Sunshine Baby” pave the way for a more melodic approach. “Under the Moon” reminds me greatly of Nazareth’s “Love Hurts” with it’s gut wrenching melodicism and beautifully picked guitar arrangement. “Sunshine Baby” pulls at the heart strings with it’s anguished lyrics and crooning. It is a very emotionally driven track that almost demands that a box of tissues on hand. In the middle we have “Little Mountain Man”, possibly the catchiest cut the band has to offer on the Ep. With a laid back vibe, the song swings and swaggers like Creedence Clearwater Revival at their best with a hook that will get stuck in your head for days.
Black Hole Bears have released a stellar EP as their debut to the world. With already touring and building a name for themselves, I truly can’t wait to see where the future takes this young band. With great talent and songwriting abilities, I feel this is just the beginning for these guys as they hone their craft and style. Be sure to keep up on these southern rockers and catch them on a stage near you. I know I am……..and so should you!!!!!!