brownbear@ The Scottish Alternative Music Awards 2014 //photograph by Calum McMillan
Modern pop music isn’t hard. Good pop music is pretty difficult though. Unless you happen to be brownbear who seem to be consistently churning out great pop rock singles like it ain’t no thing.
‘Dead or Alive’ is an ideal lead-in single for new fans on the band’s upcoming festival dates this summer and its a better introduction to the band than ‘Olive Tree’. Where ‘Olive Tree’ was a sedate and charming slice of melancholy, ‘Dead or Alive’ is a pulsing and up-tempo danceable number that serves the band’s quirky pop style better.
The band’s most obvious strengths in this track are there tightly focused rhythm section and the warm and organic lead vocal. It’s a pleasure to hear a band aiming for a poppier sound who don’t track a soulless and overly polished vocal. The occasional dip into falsetto and that nice little snarl that appears round about 1.30 in particular enhance the repetitive and accessible nature of the song.
The band do sound a touch more muscular live, the added electric guitar really making itself known, and it might be nice to hear this in the band’s recorded material as well just to give their recordings. But that’s probably because I’ve a predilection for listening to bands who sound like they’ve put a bucket on my head and beating it repeatedly while shouting at me.
Different strokes for different folks and all that.