It is hard to know where to start with “Stories”, the new album from The Bunny The Bear, a band on the evidence of this album alone who is best described as The Wanted meets Brokencyde with Enter Shikari keeping a close eye. It is an album which certainly will divide opinions, as the band has always done with their sound and previous releases, and one which leaves you unsure what it wants to be, though undoubtedly the band has it all on course within their intentions.
Firstly, it has to be said that any band which is striving to stretch itself and explore its sound has immediate kudos even if unsuccessful and Matthew “The Bunny” Tybor and Chris “The Bear” Hutka who comprise The Bunny The Bear, definitely push their limits as they fuse the widest expanse of sounds, from metal, post hardcore, and trance rock through to melodic hardcore, screamo, and pop. If that sounds off putting, I can assure you in its realisation at times it truly is but there are moments you feel they have something. “Stories” is not an awful album or a disaster waiting to push metal/rock into a pit of despair, in fact there are occasional parts that feet defy the head and take off on the air thumping dance offered, but it is hard to enthusiastically recommend it to others, or even grouchily.
Band and release is a combination you get or do not, a union which ignites your passions or leaves them deader than carnal relations in a nunnery. Sadly for them here their musical sex appeal does not make it past the masks the pair from Buffalo, wear in their creative guise. Opening song ’Eating Disorder’ brews its existence through a breeze of electronic weaves and military bred beats, the union an inviting if unspectacular start. Once the thumping beats and pulsating rhythmic provocation spearing the melodic synth caresses erupts, steered by a good mix of vocal attack, clean and hardcore, the Pendulum like play on the senses is more than decent and sets you on a road of more than satisfying endeavour. The following ‘In Like Flynn’ continues the appetising start. OK it is nothing strikingly new but the infectiousness engineered and the again trance rock persuasion complete with great ragged sinews to the bass and snarling riffs, is hard to refuse and as mentioned at this point limbs have already decided.
It is soon apparent that the pinnacle of the album has passed as the likes of ‘Hey, Allie’, ‘It’s Not Always Cold in Buffalo’, and ‘Another Day’ lay out their persuasion. The first of the three retains the anthemic pulse which lured so strongly in the first pair of songs, and again here it is potent, but other than some good metallic sabre strikes from the riffs, it is an anti-climax to what came before things drop to greater lows with the subsequent pair. Some elements offer great promise in that first song but by the time the other two unveil their One Direction pop blandness vocally into the equally unsurprising pool of skilled but uninspiring sound, any chance for the passions to grab something is gone. It should be said that vocally these guys are actually pretty good but boy bands do not do it for us here.
‘The Frog’ with its dramatic breath and muscular antagonism and the compelling ‘Melody’ are two more than decent tracks, the first an abrasive riot and the other a melodic contagion which despite our best in resistance became a quite bewitching confrontation. From there on in though, “Stories” left dead embers in the emotions as further songs such as ‘Imagine’ and ‘Sadie’ bring it to a close. All that is left to say is that fans of the band will devour and shout from the rooftops about this album, the rest of us will wait hungrily for the next assault of real metal and heavy rock.