Indie bands can have it tough sometimes. There's a stigma of
pretension that follows around a lot of artists, as though by
virtue of being independent they believe they are much more talented
than they actually are. While this is true of some Indie artists,
some merely do not fit into the mainstream and thus have no other
choice. There are some bands that, while they might be a pop band,
they are too strange to really fit into the world of mainstream
pop. Thus, we have Lucinda Black Bear and their new album,
Don't let the name scare you away, they're actually a very accessible
band. Their music is pretty much pop music, with some extra strings,
sort of like the kind of Chamber-Pop done by artists like Andrew
Bird, but less experimental. They're a band which gives the
impression that the lyrics are not as important as the music.
The way the album is mixed makes it impossible to hear all of
the lyrics, just the melody the vocals are singing. When they
do come through, the phrases that are heard are quite interesting.
Such as in "Suffocation Blues," where lead singer Christian
Gibb belts out lines like, "I sometimes feel the tug
and pull of social dues/But I'm safer in these walls where I can
make up my own truths."
One of the standout tracks on the album is the opener "Knives".
It opens with an uncertain and nervous string section that continues
into the verse, creating a mood of unease that makes Gibbs' lyrics
seem that much more paranoid. The chorus is extremely catchy and
will get into your head, whether or not you caught all of the
lyrics. The short track "Thunderlings, Revolt!" is another
standout. It's been said that the best pop songs are short and
get to the point and this is true here. It's a more Beatles-inspired
track that seems to be more about mood than meaning. There's a
catchy guitar riff that serves as a hook, while Gibbs' voice drives
the verses. Again, it's difficult to make out the lyrics here,
which doesn't matter as it doesn't seem to be the point of the
In the end, this is a satisfying and catchy album that will
convince anyone who hasn't heard of Lucinda Black Bear that
they need to follow the band more closely. It's creative and
artistic without being pretentious, which should be more than
enough to convert even the most skeptical of listeners. This
is an album that any pop fan needs to get a hold of as soon
as possible, because they certainly won't regret it.
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