Plumbiferous Media

Consider the Bear - The Thoughts

Mar 12th 2009
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Consider the Bear - The ThoughtsThe Thoughts
Consider the Bear
Score: 47

The Thoughts is a fair­ly inter­est­ing band. Its three mem­bers all stud­ied music, and their music quite hap­pi­ly shows off this trait. In addi­tion, one mem­ber is list­ed exclu­sive­ly as a vio­lin­ist, and not only does it fit remark­ably well, but in their newest album, Con­sid­er the Bear, the vio­lin car­ries the tracks at least as often as it acts as just anoth­er instru­ment. But while both Katie Mose­hauer (vio­lin) and Jon Hor­wath (drums) tri­umphed on this album, Ian Williams had a remark­ably weak show­ing, and Con­sid­er the Bear suf­fered greatly.

The Thoughts cer­tain­ly cre­ates an inter­est­ing array of sounds. “Con­stel­la­tions” is filled with flow­ing, emo­tive lyrics, com­ple­ment­ed by the vio­lin har­mo­ny, while “Equa­tion” fol­lows nice­ly by let­ting the vocals kick back a notch, even giv­ing the vio­lin a quite lengthy, and frankly, per­fect­ly con­struct­ed solo. “Blue on Gray” con­tin­ues with yet anoth­er con­sid­er­ably dis­tinct sound, and most tracks fol­low in the won­der­ful pat­tern of not sound­ing exact­ly the same as one anoth­er, some­thing that might seem a no-brain­er, but for what­ev­er rea­son is neglect­ed by far too many artists. As a gen­er­al remark, the sounds The Thoughts aim for, and gen­er­al­ly con­struct, is quite impressive.

Some songs over­all real­ly do fal­ter, such as “12345,” where not only is the voice in uni­son with one instru­ment, a prob­lem that already occured in “First,” but every melod­ic instru­ment play­ing is in uni­son, or “Bells & Gun­fire,” which is sim­ply a mis­er­able track in almost every regard. But the biggest prob­lem is that, though the over­all sound mirac­u­lous­ly almost remains unaf­fect­ed, Williams is quite care­less. The tracks in which dis­tor­tion is added to the gui­tar also con­tain a fuzz that only serves to annoy the lis­ten­er. The bass part in “First” hides the begin­ning of each note, leav­ing only the pure sound and some­times the end of the note, a tru­ly ter­ri­ble effect. And of course, there is the voice, which so often gets car­ried away and adds so much painful qual­i­ty that it ruins the track. Two instru­ments, how­ev­er, almost nev­er fal­ter, and often serve as the only sup­ports of cer­tain sec­tions: the vio­lin, and the drum (extra cred­it must go to the drum­mer, for match­ing the sounds of such a light album so amaz­ing­ly well).

Though Con­sid­er the Bear cer­tain­ly dis­plays some admirable aspects, most notably in the form of well-com­posed intros and the occa­sion­al poet­ic lyric, the sim­ple drudgery of lis­ten­ing to the album can­not be ignored. Though Con­sid­er the Bear does not, by any means, suf­fer from sig­nif­i­cant sim­i­lar­i­ty across tracks, the long, repet­i­tive sec­tions which seem to be present on every track great­ly detract from the sim­ple style and soar­ing vocals of The Thoughts.

On the first track, so apt­ly named “First,” the repeat­ed crow­ing near the end of the song is enter­tain­ing for per­haps ten sec­onds. Once it reach­es the third set of this vague­ly irri­tat­ing sound, the only thing keep­ing the track alive is the impres­sive drum line, and even that fal­ters well before the end of the track. This issue is repeat­ed across a great deal of Con­sid­er the Bear, and it’s cer­tain­ly not a com­ple­men­tary fea­ture. And although the longest track on Con­sid­er the Bear tops out at 5:39, thanks to the com­bi­na­tion of repet­i­tive sounds, unin­spired melod­ic pro­gres­sion, and bad­ly placed lyrics, the tracks seem much, much longer.

Though Con­sid­er the Bear shows promise in a few key places, it’s weak­ened so sub­stan­tial­ly by a sequence of bad­ly com­posed sec­tions that the album is almost reduced to noth­ing more than a sequence of bad­ly com­posed tracks. The Thoughts has obvi­ous tal­ent buried among the indul­gent instru­men­tals and croon­ing solos. It’s too bad that Con­sid­er the Bear is in no way the album where that can be dug up.

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