Bears For Years consists of the songwriting duo Gina Monafo and Patrick Barry, Matt Ohanian on bass and Joel Silloway on drums who replaced Andy Connors after his tragic passing in February of 2016. The band is based out of Boston, MA. Their debut album Ursa Major is a unique blend of progressive rock/pop reminiscent of the ‘70s and lounge style music.
The album opened with “Cornelius” where I was introduced to Monafo’s clear pretty voice. Her vocals are definitely appealing. There’s nothing fancy about them but she has a crisp high tone to her voice that has a nice contrast to the rock edge in most of the tracks. The track almost tricked me into thinking this was a mellow indie rock band but it quickly took an interesting turn. The second track “Life Like Fire” started with a country rock vibe but then become more and more theatrical as it went on. The harmonies were a little distracting and weird, and I found myself a little confused.
The next couple of tracks began to develop a pattern - similar vocal melodies and dramatic vocals and lyrics. Although I really loved the retro lounge-esque style of the vocals, I didn’t quite get the ’70s prog rock vibe they were going for. Most of the tracks came off more as musical theater that sometimes felt a tad cheesy and forced to me.
However, the heartfelt instrumental track “Song for Andy” for their late band member was beautiful and ambient. I also loved “Phantom Residence” which had more of an authentic jazz sound and a sexy vocal melody that stood out from the rest of the tracks.
Bears For Years has an original sound but there are definitely some kinks to work out. The songs all sounded very similar with a couple of exceptions. I loved Monafo’s voice but the vocal melodies were occasionally redundant. I think she has the range and capability to go further. I get the vibe they were going for but occasionally missed it's mark. I will however be looking forward to future work.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook