Adopt This Album!
Bear Vs. Shark – Terrorhawk (Equal Vision – 2005)
So it happened again… It was the same as before. The same as it always is. A dream. Or as a I am beginning to see it, a vision. I have now experienced the same dream more times than I can count on both hands. Each time I dream it, it is better than the last. I must point out that I have the unique ability to remember most of my dreams in quite lengthy detail. This leads me to feeling pretty demented when I wake up most mornings. However, this reoccurring dream leaves me with a feeling of hope and excitement.
The Dream, goes just… like… this… (Cue the sound of harps and fairy dust.)
It is sometime in the early evening. I walk into my backyard. Low and behold there is a crowd of friends and hundreds of good looking hipsters whom I do not know going about a very casual party. But there is a buzz through the crowd. Everyone knows that they are not just here for the standard drinking beer and gawking at the beautiful tattooed girls in the crowd. Everyone has congregated on the lawn as there is a modest stage that has been built on my deck. The stage lights are being tested and the sound booth just opposite the stage is being prepped for soundcheck. I can’t help but feel a sense of panic. What is happening? Why is this happening? Making my way past the stage, trying to get past all the band equipment scattered behind a makeshift curtain, I see it. Stenciled on a bass cab are the letters, hard to make out at first, I know what they are trying to say, shifting around, bleeding into one another they finally reveal their secret to me. BEAR VS. SHARK. There is no mistaking it, I have been waiting years for this moment. No longer scared, I grab a drink and jump on stage just as the lights go out. A lone spotlight hits me harshly. “I know that you all must be equally excited as I am right now. It happens oh so often, a band with such amazing potential, a band whom releases some of the most exciting and promising music in years. And well, sometimes things just don’t work out.” I say. As the crowd starts to stir and cheer, the band is also settling in place with their instruments. The band begins to mildy strum their guitars and the drum cymbals begin crashing creating the intro ambiance. I finish, ”But for you my friends, boy do I have a special treat. Ladies and gentlemen! Sometimes things work out better than you could dream of! May I introduce the triumphant return of Bear Vs. Shark!!!”
There is a little more to the “Vision,” mostly just a glorious concert montage. The incendiary, mad-men musicians rocking their cute little hearts out, me taking it all in, person after person stage diving, my dog spontaneously combusting, you know, the usual concert stuff. I have been telling people about this dream for years now. I am convinced that this is my Field Of Dreams moment. Kevin Costner-”If you build it, they will come.”-type shit.
So before I tell you a little more about this band and their music, I would like to throw this plea into the interweb..
DEAR, BEAR VS. SHARK,
I HAVE BEEN CHOSEN BY THE GODS OF MUSIC TO THROW A CONCERT FOR YOUR TRIUMPHANT REUNION AS A BAND. THIS CONCERT WILL TAKE PLACE IN MY BACK YARD IN SLC, UT. IT WILL BE GLORIOUS. THERE WILL BE BEER AND GOOD LOOKING PEOPLE. I PROMISE A STAGE, A SLIP N’ SLIDE AND BBQ. PLEASE DO THIS FOR YOUR FANS AND THE WORLD, WHO DESERVE TO SEE THE GLORIOUSNESS THAT A REUNITED BvS.
Let’s spread the word! #BvSreunion
What is truly important here is that even if the reality is a concert may not happen, you need to be familiar with this band. Hailing from Michigan, the post-rock outfit managed to be another band that carved a niche for themselves amongst other up and coming indie/post/punk bands such as Cursive, Pretty Girls Make Graves, Hot Water Music, At The Drive-In and Circa Survive. Bear Vs. Shark are a little hard to pin down stylistically. Utilizing textured and melodic guitar riffs as well as a blistering and sometimes scrappy rhythm section, the band’s loud to soft dynamic and tendency to play with off-rhythms always keeping the listener on edge. Not to mention, singer Mark Paffi’s incredible, brawny, honest and intense vocals are really in a class all their own. Probably some of my favorite vocals and screams of all time.
While Bear Vs. Shark were still an intact band they managed to release an EP and two full length records. Terrorhawk being the last of the three and also the record that I nominate for this edition of “Adopt This Album.” However, I cannot and will not sell their first LP short, Right Now You’re In The Best Of Hands, And If Something Isn’t Quite Right, Your Doctor Will Know In A Hurry is also one of my very favorite albums of the past decade. Still, the band’s notable growth in their second album is just too tremendous to go unrecognized. While definitely building upon the energy of their previous releases BVS honed their song structure and implemented heavier keyboard and horn sections resulting in an even sharper loud/soft dynamic. This is showcased in the the noir-styled piano ballad “Baraga Embankment,” as well as “Song About Old Roller Coaster,” and “What A Horrible Night For A Curse.” The album is rounded out with more than it’s fair share of frantic, high energy tracks. Most of which boast pace changes that leave you feeling like someone punched you as hard as they could square in the ear. Tracks such as the openers “Catamaran,” and “5, 6 Kids,” as well as “Seven Stop Hold Restart,” will not fail to get you to moving.
Terrorhawk has a knack for being heavy and incredibly beautiful as well as extroverted and extremely humble. I can’t exactly explain why but I always tend to picture a beautiful symphony being played over the sound of a thousand giant machines screeching to a halt. If you are familiar with the album, I think you’ll get what I am saying and if by chance you have not had the chance to indulge the band or this damn near perfect record, I suggest you pick up a copy pronto.