Bears Bears

Despite having a very unassuming and even unmemorable name, Cleveland’s Bears have just released a debut album that is much harder to forget. Fitting in quite nicely with the likes of the Boy Least Likely To, early Belle & Sebastian and other inhabitants of the indie-pop kingdom, they’re unashamedly lo-fi and incredibly twee. Bears is a very focussed album with 13 songs clocking it at less than 36 minutes, leaving absolutely no time for filler. The length really isn’t a problem at all and even the shorter songs that don’t even make it to the two-minute mark somehow don’t feel rushed or incomplete because there are so many ideas and neat arrangements here. In fact, there’s a real carefree air about the record that makes it a joy to listen to, thanks to its complete lack of pretensions. This is an album that wouldn’t have sounded out of place on labels like Creation or El back in the late ’80s, and there are even moments that could date back even further thanks to the Zombies-esque keyboards. A debut that people might look back at years from now and wonder how it managed to slip through the cracks unnoticed, but given enough exposure, it wouldn’t take long for folks to realise that Bears are doing something pretty special here. (Independent)