Bears and Other Carnivores is a Seattle band comprised of Aaron Davidson, Andy Zook, Aaron McConkey and Brian McConkey who have been playing music together since 2013. They describe their first EP Rods and Cones as a “gradual beast” of a mutual collaboration of four people that share their passion for music and creating. Their sound is of the indie rock genre and is reminiscent of bands like Deathcab for Cutie and Band of Horses. The album consists of five complex songs with full sound and feeling.
The title track “Rods and Cones” was first and I was instantly a fan. It had the soft poetic lyrics of Deathcab with the dramatic rock flair of The Killers. The sound had so many layers and the bridges were so intricate and compelling, I listened to the song several times before moving on. Zooks’ vocals are crisp and soft with a gentle falsetto that worked really well with the detailed guitar melodies.
I was even more impressed with “The Night” which was my favorite track of the album. The lyrics are intense and passionate and with the vocal harmonies, paired with Zooks’ fitting falsetto, echoed those sentiments. There are so many layers to the sound, each instrument is a complex component to the overall feeling and vibe of the song. The chorus is catchy without being annoying and I found myself singing it randomly throughout the day.
“Moon Mirror” was another favorite. It’s a slower, more whimsical track with lots of pretty harmonies and repeating guitar chords. By this point in the album, there was qualities and characteristics I was expecting from each song that followed and the fourth track “Gone Ghost” did not disappoint. With its more aggressive chorus and rock sound, I could easily see this being a hit on today’s indie stations. It’s a fun, addictive jam. “I’m gone, I’m a ghost. I’m gone, I’m a ghost. I’m gone, I’m a ghost to you” will forever play in my subconscious... in a good way. The lyrics, as with previous songs, are multi-layered and deep, with metaphors and hyperbole galore. Mixed with the complex guitar melodies and harmonies, it makes for a complete package.
The last song and another standout for me was “Circle Small.” The verses have a more mellow vibe that slowly intensify and build to a dramatic chorus. And as always, the guitar and bass were full bodied and created a colorful background for the emotional words.
Each song on Rods and Cones stands out on its own. Although similar in nature, each track has its own signature ambiance and mood. I was continually impressed by the sound quality and production value. There doesn’t seem to be anything lacking as far as presentation. Each band member and instrument had its own specific role in creating an overall complete and unique sound that has quickly made Bears and Other Carnivores a band I’ll be keeping my eye on. The EP has already been repeated quite a few times in my house and I may or may not know every word. I’m looking forward to future albums.
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