The Bear Season (Uruguayan Independent Artist)

by Emilio Pérez Miguel on September 13, 2011

The Bear Season: Ale Nario, Fela Magnani, Santiago de Souza, Dave Lazar, Manuel Curiel and Álvaro de León.

You know what? I’ve had it with these stuffy folks at Oxford. They’ve sold us a language that’s nowhere as limited as they’ve always claimed. They’ve shown us nothing but these sides of words they wanted us to see. Period. Take the verb “shock”, for instance. I’ve recently become aware such a verb isn’t as one-dimensional as they have told us all our lives. It’s dawned on me that it’s equally possible to be shocked positively and negatively, that you can be shocked both in good and in bad ways. Hesitant? Read on…

Definition of “something that shocked me in a bad way”: the day a friend gave me a copy of Anal Cunt’s “40 More Reasons to Hate Us” album as a birthday present, on the ostensible grounds that I love collecting rare CDs. As if that wasn’t bad enough, at around that time this wondrous friend had the chance to buy Led Zeppelin’s “Remasters” for the price of a single CD and add it to his personal collection, and he chose to buy a studio album by Wang Chung instead.
Despite the fact that I changed my address twice and that now I sleep ensconced in the middle of an underground labyrinth, I still have nightmares from time to time.

Definition of “something that shocked me in a good way”: the day I listened to The Bear Season’s debut EP (“Do It“) for the first time. Despite being Uruguayan, the guys sounded so Californian that I couldn’t help thinking if they had long blonde hair and big breasts then they’d be Athena Lundberg.
They’ve always been one of these bands I was more than eager to feature on MusicKO, but for some intricate reason or the other (like being busy listening to Pixie Lott’s debut album) I could never get around to doing it. Until now.

First thing first, The Bear Season are:

Ale Nario (vocals and piano)
Fela Magnani (drums)
Santiago de Souza (bass)
Dave Lazar (guitar and backing vocals)
Manuel Curiel (guitar)
Álvaro de León (synthesizer and acoustic guitar)

The band hails from Montevideo (Uruguay), and it was formed in 2010. Their music can be straightforwardly categorized as pop punk/hardcore.

The band has already put out three EPs, and they all can be downloaded for free. The debut (“Do It“) kicks things off in definitive style from the first notes of “Infinity”, and both heat and warmth are carried over the entire EP, culminating in the effluent “Kill The Bass”.

A lovely acoustic rendering of “Infinity”

Steal Some Shit” is their second maxi-single (there’s nothing sexier than using ’70s terminology when reviewing a recent album). It isn’t that substantial, for the mere reason that it’s devoted to covers. And there’s but two of them: Lady Gaga’s “Just Dance” and The Cure’s “Just Like Heaven”. They won’t have anybody singing hosannas, but they won’t have people running for the hills either.

In any case, I’m sure there’s no doubt on anybody’s mind that their newest EP is their best yet. Named “If We Sink Together“, it benefits from much more curvilinear arrangements and a better sense of dynamics (though the occasional narrator is a bit distracting). All songs score bull’s-eyes, but if I had to highlight just one then that’d be the masterful “Trainwreck”. And the interlude that precedes it (“I never wanted this”) is a true tearjerker, too.

When reviewing The Blueberries two months ago, I mentioned the importance of supporting those who keep the faith alive. And this definitely applies to the guys that make up the Bear Season; they are certainly some of the truest standard bearers of English music in Uruguay. Their vision and their actual interpretative skills cohere perfectly, and the end product is one that would resonate with people regardless of nationalities or backgrounds.

What more can I say? I must admit I’ve really grown attached to what they do, and the way in which they do it. So much, in fact, that I’m directing the friend who bought me that Anal Cunt album to them, so that they can welcome him in their recording studio and listen to him talk about music for the best part of an afternoon. They’d be able to compose a work rivaling Chris de Burgh’s “Some Enchanted Evening” in emotional poignancy afterwards.

You’re welcome, bears.

This is The Bear Season’s official website. And this is their MySpace profile.

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