Items is the playful yet intrepid second outing from Vancouver’s Yes Bear, to be released on 7″ red vinyl by Tetra Records. Yes Bear lies on the poppy and accessible end of the math rock spectrum. Self-defined as ‘rainbow metal, reverse sludge, butterfly party,’ Items comes at you with perfectly rendered hooks and upbeat song structures, textured melodic lines and multi-layered vocals.
Starting things off is ‘King of the Beach,’ an approachable, chorus-filled track which shows that Yes Bear has both the chops of Tera Melos and the capacity for the melody and songcraft of ’90s bands like Braid or The Promise Ring. ‘Makin’ It,’ possibly the hit of the album, is an enthusiastic mix of trademark shredding, hammered and pulled notes, neck harmonics and sweet vocals with just the right touch of sarcasm. Third track ‘† † † † †’ is a cinematic jam that leaps from laid-back cool to frenetic energy, interlaced with math-spazzery and meticulous precision: a one minute interlude that is like walking between conversations at a late night beach rager. ‘Fakin’ It’ is a high-energy yet dreamy number, varying from clean guitar lines, virtuoso tapping to fuzzed-out shreddery. Last track ‘Reckless’ combines the rapid-fire percussive delivery of Miles Chic with Brendan Cambell’s angular bass lines and more of the succinct, semi-serious, not-quite-joking lyrics. The ample guitar wizardry of Stefan Tosheff crescendos to the end, with a sweetly winding lead guitar cruising nonchalantly amidst furious crashing riffs.
Items strikes a balance between technical mastery and addictively listenable hooks in a tight and tasteful sonic environment of melodic twists and turns. I say ‘yes’ to Yes Bear and so should you.
Math rock, shredding, distortion, twinkly, angularity, tappity-tap, pop, metal, punk, emo