Band of the Day

2012.10.13

Sunbears

Sheer sonic joy created by a psychedelic pop duo from the Sunshine State
We're bouncing all around forever, like a giant red ball.
lyrics from Little Baby Pines

SUNBEARS! is an indie / electro-acoustic / psychedelic pop duo hailing from Jacksonville, FL. Their live show is not to be missed. Interactive visuals and lighting astound the eyes and ears. Since forming in 2008, the band has released a handful of EP's, a vinyl single, and now a full length album. In May 2010, they were selected as one of the best unsigned bands by Alternative Press, and, as a result, tapped to record a song for the hit children's television show, Yo Gabba Gabba, as well performing several dates on the southeast tour of YGG's "Super Music Friends Show". Their song/video "Imagination Adventure" aired on YGG in Spring 2011. In March 2011, SUNBEARS! officially showcased at SXSW 2011 to a captive Austin audience.

Their amazing live show and sheer joy that their songs exude have put them in high demand on the road with support slots on national tours with Mates of State (Barsuk), The Black Kids (Columbia Records), Dredg and Gil Mantera's Party Dream.

Recorded at NYC's Singing Serpent Studios, SUNBEARS! channeled the ghost of The Dakota, instilling as much Plastic Ono Band as they could, resulting in their their debut full length 'You Will Live Forever' (Nat'l Street Date: 11/22/11), a lesson in peace & love and their impact on an unforeseeable future.

With the end of the world looming over us (according to the Mayan calendar anyway), you might be inclined to listen to bombastic, doomsday-worthy music to soundtrack the end of civilization as we know it. And when it turns out that it was all a hoax (again), pop on Sunbears! to celebrate the fact that we’re all still alive. Because the Jacksonville, Florida-based duo, Jonathan Grant Berlin (vocals, keys, bass, guitar, programming) and Jared Chase (drums), make sheer sonic joy in the form of luminous psychedelic pop music that aptly reflects their Sunshine State upbringing. The duo first formed in 2008, releasing a small number of EP’s, a vinyl single, and even a song (“Imagination Adventure”) for the children’s television show Yo Gabba Gabba. Dream Happy Dreams, their 2009 EP, starts off with “Le Penné Pageant.” While the name brings to mind imagery of tubular pasta wearing glittery gowns and talking about world peace, the track itself is entirely instrumental, with playful keys, horns, and xylophone flourishes setting the tone for the rest of the EP. “I’m Alive!” is both the first thing you might say and the first song you might listen to when we survive the supposed apocalypse; it’s given a triumphant feel with big horn and keyboard build-ups. Following up Sunbears!’s 2009 EP is You Will Live Forever, their 2011 debut full-length album. Opening track “You Will Live Forever” has a bit of a Radiohead feel, with nothing more than ethereal vocalizations and keys, and it transitions seamlessly to the upbeat “Give Love A Try.” Lyrically, it touches upon our own mortality, and why it’s important to make room for love (“the length of our lives ain’t much” and “give love a try,” sings Berlin). Halfway through the album, “Dying Alone, Without Yourself” takes an entirely different direction. It steers away from the joyful, big sounds created earlier on, instead stripping the instrumentation down to an acoustic guitar and light electronic touches. The lyrics describe the chilling moments right before death (“he asks why?/Why?/Why?” and “his body unwinds itself/his nerves they detach themselves from his thoughts/his head is a prison cell for his thoughts”). Sunbears! might initially come off as an unrealistically happy-go-lucky band, but dig deeper and you’ll be rewarded with a truly dynamic range of sounds.