steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
blankred.jpg (4669 bytes)
info opinion

Benjamin Bear

"Lungs" CD


Genre: dream-pop, indie pop, shoegazer

Seattle, WA

Mar 23, 2009

What Benjamin Bear has described as "stargazer" is actually dramatic, piano-led dream pop. This record is a melodic and emotional effort, heavily reminiscent of a spacey rock band named Inouk. Other frames of reference are The Zephyrs, mellower Modest Mouse, and even Coldplay. The lead vocalist's voice is uniquely nasal-esque but oddly enjoyable, well complemented by the elegantly expressive piano parts. Ultimately, Lungs is a sprawling and heavy disc, although its consistent, rolling nature can result in it fading quietly into the background. I'm reminded of The Perishers to that effect.

At times, however, the songs are really quite enjoyable. Opener "Station Rest Release" and dynamic "Frictionless" see Benjamin Bear at their best. Conversely, there aren't any particularly dreadful moments on Lungs - it's more that the record tends to blend into itself, resulting in a blandly homogeneous mush. For all their dynamic instrumentation and intense crescendoing, these songs don't do much to differentiate themselves from one another. As a result, Benjamin Bear is a solid teenage post-break-up bedroom band, but a more varied approach might make their next record that much more engaging.

benjamin bear's myspace


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 12 tracks, distributed by CD Baby, released 2008]