steering clear of the mainstream
since 2001

june 2010

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info opinion

Shark and Bear

"By Sea, By Air, By Land" CDEP

Losing Blueprint Records / Agitpop! Records

Genres: math-rock, indie rock

Losing Blueprint
94 Prince St., #3
Boston, MA 02113

Aug 7 - 13 2004

Complex math rock has become Losing Blueprint's main focus as of late, and Shark and Bear is one of the few bands on their roster that I haven't already heard.  However, listening to this three-song EP, I hardly find myself on unfamiliar terrain.  These tracks are based on high-energy, angular guitars and complicated rhythms, as well as young, sung/yelled vocals.  The chaotic complexity of the disc proves to be this EP's strongest asset, although it could also alienate uninitiated listeners.

"Sunday Crossword," a vigorous rock number, starts this disc off in an interesting though somewhat inaccessible vein.  The vocals especially take some time adjusting to.  "Flammable, Ignored," which follows, is a bit more catchy - at times it sounds like a more experimental and amateurish Dismemberment Plan track, oddly enough.  Its calmer approach is also quite successful, with some of the strongest hooks coming from the song's instrumental parts.  "A Good Clockpunching," the EP's finale, takes an approach similar to that of the first song, including lyrics about the monotony of office life - suggesting a commentary on routine and society's obsession with impersonal efficiency.

Shark and Bear is an intelligent band that prides itself on quality songwriting and intellectual lyrics.  By Sea, By Air, By Land is worth a shot, but only if you're into the new math-rock scene.


Matt Shimmer

[Vitals: 3 tracks, distributed by the label, released 2004]