Bearcubbin’ – Girls With Fun Haircuts (2014)

Portland math rockers Bearcubbin’ share a lot in common with And So I Watch You From Afar, with respect to their stylistic evolution. In Bearcubbin’, the post-rock melodies of 2009’s Live From The Bear Trap were succeeded by the aggressive and hook-rich hyperactivity of 2011’s aptly titled Get Your Heavies Out. A similar shift in sound occurred between ASIWYFA’s poignant self-titled debut and their wilder and more mercurial follow-up, Gangs. Girls With Fun Haircuts, Bearcubbin’(‘)s newest LP, is much like ASIWYFA’s All Hail Bright Futures: there is a bit of restraint on the eccentricities, allowing the underlying force of the album to ripple out a bit more. Don’t get me wrong here: Get Your Heavies Out was a solid album and it warms my heart with its wackiness. But Girls With Fun Haircuts is just… sensational. It showcases the rich creativity of Bearcubbin’ without the heavy lead guitars and odd Mike Patton-style backing vocals of previous instalments.

In Girls With Fun Haircuts, there is a noticeable shift to electronics to boost the sound. Tracks like ‘Solid Gold Monster Truck’ and ‘Master Cylinder’ offer solid, upbeat grooves over quirky synths, and listeners will no doubt make comparisons with bands like Battles and Adebisi Shank here. The almost cartoon-like flavour of these tracks is well-balanced by invigorating, pounding anthems like ‘Kevin’ and ‘Down Buttermilk Road’, which seem fixated on wedging emotions into your psyche. And they do.

After a three year hiatus between records, Bearcubbin’ are finally cubbin’ again. And with Girls With Fun Haircuts, the stoichiometry is amazingly right. It’s highly vivacious and wild at heart, but it never outstays its welcome by pissing on your dog. Or something.

File Under

Math rock, experimental, post rock, electronic, progressive, instrumental, distortion, party mix, disjointed riffs, slow groove, heavy effects

Sounds A Tad Like

Battles, Adebisi Shank, ASIWYFA