When I first listened to Sunbears!, I thought I somehow managed to get lost on my drive home and ended up in the ’70s — as you do when it’s raining and the visibility is low. I can’t say I’ve been lucky enough to experience the ’70s before, but I think these guys wish they had.
Sunbears! have already donned themselves with a kooky, endangered animal name. Perhaps they secretly work for the WWF. Fun name aside, that wasn’t what drew me in. It was actually the lyrical content, particularly the hippie-oriented phrases. With lyrics like “everything’s gotta mean something” and “there’s only two things in life that really matter: live love and die”, It makes me think of simplistically direct cultural sentiments like “Give Peace a Chance”. Chalk them down for hippie revolutionaries, though talented ones at that.
All that aside, their quirky vibe is a calming and refreshing change. Sounding like a cross between The Flaming Lips’ more straightforward tracks (like “W.A.N.D.”) and MGMT’s sunny psychedelia (particularly on “His Little Head”), Sunbears! create a nice uplifting sound rare for groups relying on namesake or period piece gimmicks. Perhaps this is partly due to the fact that they are American and most likely have never experienced sweaty commuters on an over-packed Central Line. Nevertheless, I feel my day has stepped up a notch after listening to their advice. Perhaps I will go and give love a try, or maybe I’ll waiting ’til they release their album. Perhaps it will be titled something like “divorce is only a state of mind”. For now, grab some tie-dye and listen to “Give Love a Try” – especially if you’re a lot less cynical than myself.
RIYL: The Flaming Lips, MGMT, Los Campesinos!, Polyphonic Spree, Black Kids, Mates of State, Johnny Foreigner, Tokyo Police Club