the85bears Listening Notes



I am working on a review of the85bears‘ album entitled 10 Years Look Good on You for Decapolis, but I though it would be cool to share my complete unedited notes with my readers here, as well. In short, this is an album of good music that is poorly recorded, but I’m okay with that, completely. Fix up the recording and trim a few songs to make it an EP, and it’s a solid 8, but as is, we’ll call it a 6.5.

Here are my unedited notes, the only changes from my original scratch are the links I added. Enjoy.

“Quaint and Country” – I’ve read tons of praise by many for this song on my first mixtape. It’s enjoyable and reminds me of an acoustic musician I liked a lot in my teen years called Feeling Left Out.

“Shadows” – Harder edge, the vocals remind me of a song now defunct punk influenced rock band Giving Way (Jon is now lead vocalist in Holler Wild Rose!, Lou is in the band with him, not sure where Jimmy is now, but he played with Anberlin for a bit and was in Evelyn Hope, too). The overall feel of the song is very reminiscent of Full Surrender, in the acoustic guitars and hand drums juxtaposing with a hardcore type edge.

“Meshac” – A beautiful, worshipful song. The female backing vocals enhance this track more than in previous track (though they never took away, this track specifically benefits from them). The hand drums continue to bring forth comparisons of NJ’s Full Surrender.

“Speak Now” – Similar tone and feel to what has been established on the album thus far, the chorus picks up the tempo from the verses, like the handclaps in the chorus a lot. Adds a fun feel to the track.

“What You Hate” – More bands keep coming to mind as I move forth through the album, this track brings all that was good about early emo to mind, as well as a great rock band that was on Tooth & Nail a few years back called Fighting Jacks… though the acoustic instruments are a stark contrast to Fighting Jacks’ powerful electric sound. The female backing vocals are perfect here, sounds like a cello in there somewhere too.

“Needles” – Good, downbeat track, another worshipful tune at first, picks up after first verse a bit with some classical guitar that screams “Esteban!” The recording on this track detracts from the song a great deal.

“Abraham” – Not a big fan of this track, slowest track up until this point. Honestly, just don’t really like it.

“Mercy Unending” – Another track that suffers from a poor recording. Have a hard time getting past the lack of production on this, but underneath it, sounds like a good song, again presenting a worshipful tone like “Meshac” or “Needles”.

“The Vine” – Love this track. Again I am reminded of what was good about early emo music. Powerful lyrics, emotive vocals, good song structure. This is the kinda of song that could make me cry if heard at the appropriate time, like I did whenever I saw the Operation (Damn mewithoutYou for blowing up and burning out their first and better band), even though I tried not to.

“Friends with Benefits” – Piano is a good way to win me over in most case, this is no exception, good song about love, lust, and life.

“Feather White” – Completely different from the rest of this album. This is basically a spoken word track, a poem spoken on top of music. Different, but interesting. Dig it.

“Never” – I enjoy the guitar work on this track, not much else to say. Short song.

“It’s All His” – Cool instrumental (complete with xylophone), the guitar work seems to build up and up, but never seems to fully deliver. Sounds more like a track that comes in between two others or is the background to a transitional scene in a movie. Not the best way to close the album, but overall a decent track.

Overall: Poor production value, but that’s okay when an album is essentially a collection of self recorded tracks distributed for free. Lacked flow, meaning it sounded as a collection of songs, not an album, per se.


~ by thepaintedman on September 29, 2009.

5 Responses to “the85bears Listening Notes”

  1. I really like your blog and i respect your work. I’ll be a frequent visitor.

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  5. […] Speechless. Several great entries were highlighted and Michael Signorelli of More in Sorrow, the85bears, and Little Lords arose […]

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