Listening to Bear VS Rhino’s latest EP, Vulture Song, was a really interesting audio experience – the record demonstrates a maturity and development from their earlier EPs. However, I am having trouble in working out what the band are trying to say.
‘Beck up, Back up’ is a punchy introduction to the record. I especially like Markus’s guitar playing here, and the instrumental which runs from around three minutes in until the end of the track. I could see myself jamming to that instrumental in the basement of a sweaty bar.
However, the vocals sound warped and distorted, and while the overall results are pretty unique and interesting, I found it difficult to actually understand the lyrics – a theme which carries on throughout the entire EP.
After three tracks I eventually gave up trying to understand the lyrics. Whilst I realise that these kinds of vocals comes part and parcel with the genre, it still grates on me that I can’t work out what message the band want to put across, if any. On the plus side, the style of recording gives the vocals an authentic feel, and if I closed my eyes I could imagine being with Bear VS Rhino in the basement of Gerry’s Wine And Spirits when they were recorded.
In terms of track length I felt that ‘Beck up, Back up’ meandered a little, and could have delivered in a much shorter time. ‘A letter to my brother and sister, fuck him, he doesn’t know what paracetamol is’ also went on a little too long for my taste, much like the title of the track itself.
The intro to ‘Milli80seconds’ is a really cool, slow-burning start to the track, which gives off Nirvana-esque vibes and draws attention to the contrast between the quieter instrumental parts and louder vocals.
‘If it looks dead and if it smells dead, it’s probably fucking dead’ is probably my highlight of the album – once again, I like the contrast between soft and louder vocals – and it leads nicely into ‘Daisychain’, a fast and upbeat end to the EP which really ties the whole package together.
Overall I think I could see where Bear VS Rhino were coming from when they made this album, and on the whole, it works as a culmination of their 18 months of existing as a band. However, their efforts just missed the mark for me, and I finished Vulture Song a little disappointed.
– Katie Boyden