Marking their five-year anniversary, Sunbears! are having a wonderful year. To name a few things of what the band has been up to: They were a part of one of the country’s biggest music festivals, they issued a vinyl of their 2009 EP, Dream Happy Dreams, and they’re finally releasing their new record, Future Sounds. Originally a duo, they’ve currently expanded to a quartet.
Expectedly, the synths play a big role, as they are responsible for the theme and contributing to the continuing motif by resembling anything you would hear in a space game. More members translate into a lot of energy infused into their sound, and an increase in instrument variety. Percussion is delightfully diverse, including tambourine, shakers, and a traditional drum set. The lead vocal has a surprising range, and it even sounds distorted occasionally for an additional trippy effect.
“He’s A Lie! He’s Not Real!” is a fabulous choice for the first single because it manages to capture the essence of the whole record; it’s pumped up, with plenty of atmospheric synths and tambourine. The musical complexity is turned down for “I’m Feelin’ Low,” a song with honest and solemn lyrics. Opening with a slow but steady beat and sounds similar to rain, “Overspiritualized” continues on with a fuzzy voice, guitar, and shakers. The rain stops and picks up throughout, but the music is interrupted halfway through with an eerie static that transforms into a lone guitar and echoing vocal. Ending on a lighthearted note, “Love (Breaks All Sadness)” has dreamy guitar riffs, optimistic lyrics, sounds of nature, tambourine, and background vocals that croon “oohs and “ahhs.”
For a title such as Future Sounds, you surprisingly can hear plenty of retro influences in it. It’s the best of both worlds; mix psychedelic guitar with futuristic synths and you’re on your way to a 21st century hippie revival. Maybe that’s a bit farfetched, but I’m all for a movement that’s as cool as this album sounds.
In A Word: Celestial