9/10 Brian Staff review, 09 November 2012
Didn't expect this to actually live up to its glowing press release but it pretty much does. 'The Bears For Lunch' is the magic number three of a well-documented trilogy of new albums by the mid-’90s "classic" line-up of GBV. This obscenely prolific bunch of casual geniuses from Dayton, OH, seem to have once again hit upon a crystal of that magic that made 'Bee Thousand' and 'Alien Lanes' such treasure troves of effortless indie rock bar-raising prowess. The 'Factory' album that kicked off the revival this year was a pretty patchy affair to these ears and I'm ashamed to say the subsequent volume was lost in the mists of 2012's hectic release schedule. You've seen the insane amount of shit we stock...but never mind, here come ‘the Bears’ and boy they is magnificent furry creatures Mom.
Dave and Clint were always the office Pollard & Co. heads, I caught a woeful live gig in Leeds around the time Kim Deal was verbally stapling their name on every indie kids forehead and wrote them off as past-it chancers - they appeared to be a bunch of extremely pissed and shambolic geography teachers with a long haired roadie roped in to cover for the one that was still sleeping off the excesses of the previous night on the floor of the van outside. None of these surmisations are necessarily 100% true but they were certainly a bad pub rock band that night. I'm glad I re-investigated eventually and 'Bee Thousand' does now share a footing in my collection with that other indispensable benchmark from those halcyon days, 'Slanted & Enchanted'.
I feel like this collection harnesses the same fine balance as those early favourites with a delicious spread of medium to lo-fidelity tunes that are often melodically rich and spilling with fuzzy wild-eyed guitars that roll around and spar between the posts marked chime and growl, those steadfast unfussy solid drums and the yearning comfort of Uncle Bob's voice (when he sings the songs anyways, but then when he doesn't the songs are just as impressive!). Then there's gorgeous ‘60s psych folk-pop gems such as 'Waking up the Stars' that add real spice and variety. I'm assuming that's a Tobin Sprout number? The production is dry, lively, raw and dusty, there are a couple of cracked no-fi fragments and I cannot believe 'She Lives in an Airport' isn't a criminally forgotten out-take from those long, long days.I'm not sure if they'll ever quite pull this off again so I really wouldn't leave this record to gather dust as numerous subsequent albums are already in the pipeline. If you're a paid-up devotee of the initial prime period in the life of GBV you may well be over the moon at how they've managed to completely revive that celebrated ability to yawn a classic album merely on rising groggily from bed.
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