You might recall the Little Rock, Arkansas-based band Bear Colony from The Tripwire Podcast 023. That was actually my introduction to the group as well, since my copy of their debut album was still in transit. We Came Here To Die finally landed on my desk this morning, and it was well worth the wait. Before I go any further, it should be noted that Bear Colony is more of a music collective rather than a band. Fronted by Vince Griffins, altogether the family tree of the various members have roots stemming from Lovedrug, Pedro The Lion, Ester Drang and Unwed Sailor.
The album is an interesting blend of cinematic rock with just a hint of electronic beats, making for a progressive sound that is mighty impressive for a debut. It begins with "Sharks," which has huge guitars and a fat chorus that segues oh so easily into passage of quiet drum machine rhythms, just to catapult back into the stratosphere with old-school Jonny Greenwood guitars and Jimmy Gnecco vocals.
Bear Colony can also turn their amps down a bit to make for some very cool pop songs. "Hospital Rooms Aren't For Lovers" comes across as a blend of Postal Service with less of a focus on the electro and more on the layered vocals and atmospheric guitars. Another interesting moment on the album comes during "[At] Breakneck Speeds," which feels a bit like some of the more laid-back material from Smashing Pumpkins' Melancholy And The Infinite Sadness.
The tone of the album is a direct result of Griffin's being misdiagnosed with Crohn's Disease back in 2005, remaining bedridden for several months. With all that time to write material, Bear Colony's We Came Here To Die arrives as a mature body of work that stands on its own.