Black Bear Kiss – Review

Another requested review here, this time from Shropshire based indie rock band Black Bear Kiss. The band, formed in 2016, have released a steady stream of seven singles over the last two years, two of which were released this year. It is these two singles that I’m going to be checking out today!

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Firstly we have Reach Up Higher, a song released back in August and one that has already amassed quite a high number of streams on sites in just a few short months. The song starts with a simple, repeated palm muted guitar chord, think Bryan Adams with ‘Summer of ’69’. However, when the vocals kick in it reminds me more of a Placebo song, given the melody it follows. Neither of those are bad things at all, I love both bands. The song soon turns massively indie though when the drums, base and second guitar come in, especially with the awesome lead melody from the guitar, giving it a real US vibe. The driving baseline and drums carries on through another verse, adding some great depth to the song, a lot of layers adding so much to this. The awesome guitar melody kicks back in as we finally reach the first proper chorus, it being simple but very catchy and easy to pick up and sing along to. The song drops back down coming out of the second chorus to the opening guitar riff. However they continue to build on it more and more, adding some rather Tool-esque bass and a simple drum build alongside the vocals and eventually the lead guitar again, it all coming together in spectacular fashion to explode into a fantastic final chorus and outro. The whole final minute and a half of this song is really awesome, the buildup being perfect and the chorus feeling so massive it felt like a decent payoff. I’m not massively into indie music but I can definitely get behind this!


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When I Break feels like a complete change of pace. It opens on a lead guitar riff that feels like it was made for a saxophone instead, it’s so damn jazzy. It really reminds me of Careless Whisper, and now I’m going to have that song stuck in my head all day, so thanks for that, guys! The song stays at a slower pace throughout, with simple yet great verses and another suuuper catchy chorus, something definitely needed in indie music. However, where this song really shines is in it’s lead guitar parts. There’s an awesome solo after the second chorus, one that channels massive amounts of John Frusciante vibes. It goes on for a while yet doesn’t really take anything away from the song, it merely adds a lot of awesomeness. My only slight complaint with it, and it is MAJORLY slight, is that a couple of the notes could have a slight bit more room to breathe, there were one or two too many notes in there. However, overall this song was awesome, maybe even better than the first one, and has easily made my playlist!

Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed both of these songs. As I said previously, though I’m not usually into indie music, this was great. It was still poppy and very radio friendly, but it was just about heavy enough or different enough at times to keep my attention. After hearing the rest of their songs after these two, too, I have to say I like them all. They are definitely a band to keep your eye on in the future!

Here is another grassroots music review, you might like. Jody Blunt

Overall: 7/10

The review by musician, blogger & author – Joe Griffiths

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