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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