As a music writer, the first instinct is to compare a surfacing artist to a band with an already established sound. When listening to Bear Attack’s EP Shine, I am faced with the difficulty of trying to find any kind of accurate comparison. The synths and drumbeat on opening track “Mother” are reminiscent of post-OK Computer Radiohead; “Exit
Hymn,” with the LA rain caught on tape and way it grows and swells to an expansive peak could be compared to Sigur Ros; and one could see the powerful, lonely love song “August” having roots in the sounds of The Shins or The Smiths. But in the end, Shapes doesn’t really sound like it could have been recorded by any of these bands.
With their first official EP, the Los Angeles quintet makes a strong statement for a debut. From songs about unassailable love separated by distance, to a piece concerning the existential power of the need to create, this collection of six tracks does exactly what a first record should – treat the listener to a rich tapestry full of varying textures and intelligent, poetic lyrics. Guitarist Brandon Bae fills the space between acoustic piano and guitar chords with well-chosen effects, while the gentle, intimate vocals of Eric Radloff and Mia Minichiello constantly weave in and out of each other. The closing track “Shine” (my favorite) begins as a personal journey into the heart before bursting forth into the bright sunlight of the world, surrounded by the intertwining colors and shapes created by Bae’s guitar solo.
It’s impossible that this group won’t be on the rise in Los Angeles within the next year or two, with Shapes only marking the beginning – you can get the EP over on the group’s Bandcamp.