Sydney’s Bearhug are a band that have relied on guitar noodling and clever melodies to make their mark. Their 2012 debut, Bill, Dance, Dinner, drew heavily on the influence of Broken Social Scene, but things have changed in the passing years with members moving on and the band’s sound finding a more rugged quality.
So Gone is a more intense listen with countless layers of thick sounding guitars forming the backbone of each track. As if to labour the point, Bearhug open the record with a fuzzy instrumental, Borderlines, that is too busy making sonic mayhem to bother to insert any vocals. Ryan Phelan makes his presence felt from then on with economical vocals that rate high on the slacker scale.
Bearhug have history placing women’s names as the titles of their songs and Aimee continues the tradition, but it is the energetic Animal that is the early high point on the record. The tipping of the hat to the indie guitar records of the ‘90s with Acid Town having a tidy riff that would be at home in the intro of a Superchunk tune. The guitar onslaught continues until the final track, Until We Say, which is the only outlier here and a lo-fi treat.
So Gone has seen Bearhug take on a more masculine approach, whilst maintaining their guitar driven appeal. Things may be a little nastier sonically this time around, and Bearhug are all the better for it.