Review: Bear vs. Shark

Bear vs. Shark
“Right Now, You’re in the Best of Hands”
(Equal Vision)

What the world needs now is a real blast of fury and passion, not another mediocre mid-west emo band. Fuck, guess we’ll have to settle for Bear vs. Shark. Great name – not great music. This Detroit-area band have come up with 12-songs of middle-of-the-road emo rage: bursts of crunchy guitars and explosive drums, only to be pulled in by a melodic bass line for that soft, fleshy moment.

“They called you a martyr and they cut off your ties to the city,” sings Marc Paffi on, “The Employee is not Afraid,” a sorry, soft-loud ripoff of anything Buffalo Tom did 40 times better, except without the annoying “Ee-yo-weee-oh” singalong chorus.

Leaning their necks just a few inches forward, the members of Bear vs. Shark peek at the test answers on the desks of the best and brightest students in the classroom: Husker Du, early emo predecessors Embrace and Rites of Spring and even Texas is the Reason. Paffi, gets points for giving his all, although some of his melodies are downright atrocious and never should have been put to tape. Check the horrid balladry – and freshman year poetry (“These are landmine carburetors”) – of “MPS.”  Not all is wretched; at least “Second” spiritedly opens with an anthemic pop-core hook, but, alas, its guitars descend into emo’s answer to noodling math rock.