Grizzzzy Bear is, according to the blurb, "an immense robotic machine elegantly designed to purify the air we breathe".
A nice image maybe, but what about the music, I hear you ask?
Well apparently, "its output blends electronic pop music with elements of punk rock, reminding...of a time when music was catchy and immediate at the same time."
Catchy AND immediate at the same time? Surely it'd be pretty hard to be one without the other, wouldn't it? Still, I don't know why I'm getting hung up on this, because although it does, at times, blend electronic music with punk, I'm not sure there's too much that here that is catchy and/or immediate. There are lots of short numbers here that the punk description might suggest – indeed more than half the eighteen tracks weigh in under the two minute mark, but Pink Flag it isn't. It's all over the place - a sprawling mess where it sounds like the band think that if they throw enough ideas at us then surely some will stick.
The album opens with some gentle, music box-like sounds on the introductory Hello, but they soon give way to noisier affairs like Stale Body and Knock The Door Down. Horn On Your Head and My Little Artifact are more electronic, with the former being one of the better moments here. Poison Wine is another electronic one with a nice, extended OMD-like riff to open it, but the actual song – when it eventually arrives a couple of minutes in – just isn't strong enough. Special Specimen, meanwhile, is a more doomy take on 80s electronic pop which surprisingly features a brief moment where it sounds like Brian May has joined them for a few bars.
Friday Night Vampire Club is pretty punky whilst Broken Bones does what the band claim to do by marrying punk and electronic descriptions. It's even pretty catchy, but unfortunately it isn't half annoying, a description which could probably also be given to other tracks such as Sea Carcass. And like White Out, which follows, Broken Bones would benefit from those early 80s keyboards being somewhat lower in the mix.
There's lots of other tracks here that don't really do much for me at all. Since Day 1 You Were My Sun, for example, resembles a "proper" song when it opens. Then it goes all thrashy - with added synths, of course. To be honest, the result is a bit of a mess.
So the best I can say about this album is that it's "interesting". But I can't quite get away from the feeling that they are throwing so many ideas at us in an attempt to try and divert us from the fact that too many of those ideas aren't actually that good. Maybe I'm being cynical and I should be admiring their ambition, but Grizzzzy Bear really are difficult to love.