I recently traveled to Indianapolis, Indiana for a work function. I had never been there and had zero desire to travel back to the cold chill of the Mid-West. However, when I got there I found out that the unknown outpost in bum-fuck Indiana is a bangin’ town with a shout out to the Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library, and the beautiful White River State Park hugging the outer edges of the Circle City.
What does this have to do with Bear Hands? Nothing, really, except that I was driving one of the desolate two-lane roads in corn country while listening to their new record You’ll Pay for This and loving the way the record augmented the sunset. At that time I came to the conclusion that I really liked Bear Hands, and I should drive some more, so I did. I listened to the entire record, hitting repeat on many of the songs, and found myself moving my body in such a way that I was “that guy” in the car next to you that is acting like nobody’s watching, when clearly everyone is.
You’ll Pay for This takes Bear Hands on what feels like a natural progression. Building on the success of their previous record Distraction and monster hit “Giants” the band has offered a more robust and mature sound, yet keeping their often twitchy, carnival, fun-timey, Duran Duran death-ride on point. Bear Hands is genre-defying, mixing the best of dance and electronica, with a punk rock sensibility that would make Blondie smile.
The record’s first single, the tongue-in-cheek “2AM” offers a mellow vibe with an instant sing-along chorus. I can relate to the poignant lyric “All I want to do is forget how old I am”. The albums first track “I Won’t Pay” brings the noise ½ through at somewhat of a surprise to the listener. “Boss” offers an indistinct line between easy listening and militaristic. “Too Young” is a tromp through the meadow with butterfly wings. “Marathon Man” calls upon early Talking Heads and new wave influences.
With many of the new records I have listened to within the past year, there is a very strong last 3 or 4 songs. You’ll Pay for This continues this trend. “Winners Circle”, “I See You”, and Purpose Filled Life” all bring it on home. “Purpose Filled Life” has my vote for the best song on the album as it builds from very somber mood-filled disturbance, to the almost-comical falsetto of lead-singer Dylan Rau, to the Asian influenced jangle of guitarist Ted Feldman.
You’ll Pay for This is a record worthy of many listens, and just like Indianapolis, Indiana, you may not want to get it the first time, but give it a chance… you’ll discover its beauty eventually.
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