That Was Something – Bears!

  • Bobby Gorman posted
  • Reviews

That Was Something

Bears! - Oort Records

First things first, That Was Something seem to have confused the idea behind a band name and CD name because by looking at the debut record from this Rochester Hills’ five piece, I swear that Bears! is the band name. Not only that, Bears! is a better band name. It’s short, its abrupt, it’s memorable; unlike That Was Something which would fit nicely as a CD title but falls short as a band name as it’s rather forgettable and too “in” for its own good.

In a way that ideology transfers over to their music too because hidden behind their polished sound pop-rock sound is some truly catchy moments. However, That Was Something sound as if they’re trying all too hard to follow the current trend of pop-rock outfits akin to Fall Out Boy or Mayday Parade for them to really stand out. It leaves them teetering dangerous close to obscurity but desperately hanging on thanks to a few fleeting moments where Bears! stops being another faceless act and actually delivers a song worthy of a spin.

Rob Weber’s vocals sound like a mix between Brendon Urie and Kenny Vasoli. He’s able to deliver a few catchy moments and has a wide enough range but it still sounds all too familiar which makes them unable to stand out and really leave an impression. The overly slick production doesn’t help that aspect either. The lightly peppered keyboard melodies floating in the background of every song screams out trendiness. They keyboard always feels like an afterthought and rarely takes lead. The only time it really does is in the Hold Steady influenced Go Get A Switch And Turn Yourself On; a song who’s title is trying way too hard to be witty.

Still, Bears! isn’t all bad and is a relatively pleasant listen despite its somewhat predictable patterns.The opening acoustic riff in Affirmative followed by the inclusion of female vocals help make that song stand tall in the album. Weber’s vocals are more confident on I Don’t Wanna Go Back In The Bag and Jon-Paul Bakaric’s backing vocals properly round out the chorus to make it rather catchy. On The Wedding,That Was Something mixes everything together – including a more prominent and useful utilization of Mark Warren’s keyboard – to craft a song that has a head bopping beat and shows that the band is capable of writing a well-written song and melody if they need to.

Their bio states that That Was Something merges influences from Jimmy Eat World, The Cure and New Found Glory to create a timeless sound, well that’s a complete lie. There’s no indication of anyJimmy Eat World or Cure influence and the New Found Glory influence is extremely minimal in Weber’s voice and that’s all. Instead, Bears! sounds as if they’ve taken a cue from the current trend of pop-rock acts out there on Hopeless Records, Tooth & Nail Records or Fearless Records and it doesn’t make for a timeless sound by any means. It’s too bad too; because there are a few decent melodies in here but nothing strong enough to keep it from falling through the cracks of an already jammed packed sea of replicates.