Elsewhere by Graham Reid

music - travel - arts

Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion by writer Graham Reid

Bears: Greater Lakes (Misra/Southbound)

Bears: You're Going
Bears: Greater Lakes (Misra/Southbound)

Breezy pop – from the Beach Boys through the Shoes and Wannadies to much overlooked recent acts like Camera Obscura, the Clientele and Institut Polaire – is a noble lineage of close harmonies, choruses and a backbeat.

The preppy-looking Bears from Ohio (not to be confused with former Bowie guitarist Adrian Belew's “the Bears” also from Ohio) don't mess with template, just slow it down in places for airy and sunshine-filled ballads with a touch of heartache and longing (You're Going, Don't Wait, the Brian Wilson-like I Don't Have You on My Mind).

With a touch of keyboards they alight briefly on New Wave (From Good to Bad) and when they pull out acoustic guitars (More Left Out) they ease gently towards elegant folk-pop. But mostly this is quietly persuasive, mercifully unpretentious pop – and Perfect Girl sounds timeless.

Surprisingly, given the simplicity of these songs, this debut was three years in the making (they underwent line-up changes), which means credit goes to singer-songwriters Charlie McArthur and Craig Ramsey, the group's Wilson-McCartney.

Nothing is innovative, distinctive or especially memorable here but it's always likably charming . . . and on their Facebook page they cite the Oneders as an influence.

If you get that reference – from Tom Hanks' film That Thing You Do – you'll get the late summer sound of Bears.

Like the sound of this? Then start here.

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