Hilltops
Hartwick College's Student Newspaper

The View From Oyaron Hill

Five Bands You Can Use to Either Impress or Confuse Your Friends

04.26.16


Tim Raimy


On April 15, the indie rock band Bear Hands released their third studio album You’ll Pay for This after months of confused communications between the band and their fans. Hailing from Brooklyn, New York, they released their first studio album, Burning Bush Supper Club, back in 2010; their most recent album prior to You’ll Pay for This was Distraction, released in 2014.


The album opens up with a song contradictory to the title of the album, “I Won’t Pay.” The song’s instrumentals resemble the fuzz rock style of AWOLNATION, but lack the latter’s intensity. The vocals feature the signature “wispy” sound of the band’s lead vocalist, Dylan Rau.


The second song and featured single “2AM” is the story of what every 20-something partier fears the most; the moment when staying up all night dancing and drinking suddenly loses its appeal. The message is conveyed with scenes of people sitting at home waiting for something to happen “All your friends are sober. / Yeah, we’re getting older.” Regardless of your thoughts on late-night revelry, the refrain “Nothing good happens past 2AM” carries a ring of truth, sustained by the song’s laid-back energy, which calls to mind a party that just doesn’t want to happen.


Kicking up the energy with the song “Boss,” the third song opens with an acoustic guitar, which is featured throughout the remainder of the song and is later joined by bursts of fuzzed guitar and a “stomp-stomp-clap” beat. The song is the story of an irresponsible narrator struggling to change. 


“Déjà vu” contains snippets of anecdotes and Bear Hands’ characteristically vague lyrical comparisons, for example: “Broken wrist, broken jaw; open up and say ‘Ah’ / List all my symptoms, tell me what you think I am missing / But you’ve got to kill the pain.” The last 55 seconds of the song sounds like the band got a drum pad, loaded a bunch of instruments onto it and went to town; the result is a strangely appealing way to finish off the song.


The next song, “Too Young” doesn’t add too much to the album, for me, but is still a solid song, driven by driven by a simple beat and keyboard describing a relationship that didn’t last and doesn’t want to get back together.


Coming in as the fifth track, “The Shallows” brings back memories of their earlier work with an acoustic guitar accompanying light keyboard work, making it a peaceful track to listen to.


The peaceful tone is interrupted with “Like Me Like That,” the sixth song on the album. It’s energetic and uplifting both instrumentally and lyrically. The narrator of the song may not have their life together completely, describing themselves as an “emotional wreck” and “only half way through,” but expresses confidence that I think you [the person to whom the song is addressed] like me like that.” Keeping up the energy, Bear Hands continues with “Chin Ups,” another track characterized by cryptic lyrics.


The next song, “Marathon Man” didn’t really do much for me the first time I listened to it, but I kept revisiting it trying to pick something out for the review. After a few listens through it strangely grew on me for reasons I’m not sure I can explain, so I’m going to let you all interpret it however you’d like.


“Winners Circle” resembles a song of theirs that was never studio released, “Bullshit Saviour Complex.” Both songs are satires of wealthy people; however “Winners Circle” also pokes fun at those who could be described as overachievers. The moral of the singers’ story is “I don’t really care, or want, to stand in the winner’s circle / I don’t even know how I got to the finish but don’t care, don’t make no difference.” The energy of the song may make you feel better about your own potential lack of ambition to be in “the winner’s circle.”


The next song, “I See You” didn’t make it into the winner’s circle for me, but fits very well in the album regardless. The final song on the album, “Purpose Filled Life,” closes the album comfortably with the message and feeling of wanting to find your purpose in life and being willing to do whatever it takes to find it.