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Album Review: Shenanagrams by Bear Makes Ninja

UK Math/rock/alternative three-piece Bear Makes Ninja release their debut album Shenanagrams on 14th March via Mountains of Records. The album picks up where there first two EPs left off with their distinctive sound taking in expansive instrumental sections, brutally heavy riffs, clean and intricate parts, three part harmonies and a wealth of interesting time signatures.

If you’re unfamiliar with Bear Makes Ninja then you may just be about to find your new favourite band. Shenanagrams has all the right ingredients to become your favourite album of 2016, it is a compelling listen from start to finish, it’s intricacies and nuances exciting and giving you something fresh on every listen. The heavy parts and vocal harmonies do the jobs of suckering in the most ardent hard rock fan and conversely the listener that craves an infectious pop sensibility.

The diversity and expansiveness of Bear Makes Ninja has to be admired and there’s no better way to drive it home than the stunning opener ‘Double Twice’. Simply put its pure instrumental rock gold. In a similar vein to a debut album And So I Watch You From Afar the energy and intricate guitar parts are astounding. The visceral energy and confidence that emanates from the track puts you onto the idea that you might just be listening to something truly special. That feeling is confirmed by the brilliant ‘Aches and Veins’. Showing the other vocal side of Bear Makes Ninja it can act as the ideal starting point for the more casual listener due to its infectious melody. It’s the devastatingly heavy riff that really makes it standout though.

With those two opening tracks the scene is set for a brilliant album, the bar is set high early on and only gets pushed higher. ‘Bob’s Logs’ is a real gem, whether it be the churning heavy riffs, blistering drumming or mind blowing intricate guitar parts the track just keeps getting better over its 5 minutes. The vocal harmonies from it and ‘B.F.C’ are fine examples of why the band can be considered the most accessible of their math rock contemporaries. The latter delivers a sound similar to the much missed Hold Your Horse Is. Conversely ‘I Ditch Girls Who Believe In Ghosts’ shows how good the band are as an instrumental act. When the track explodes around the 3 minute mark with the crashing drums and brutal riffs it is driven home just how brilliant Shenanagrams is.

‘12345’ is home to some of the best riffs and vocal harmonies on the album, while ‘These Little Snakes’ is a lesson to all on how to create a wonderfully infectious and emotive math rock track. The album finishes on a high with the astounding title track. When the track takes a heavy turn it’s truly glorious.

With Shenanagrams Bear Makes Ninja have come in right on the money. This is a superb debut album and should be used as a marker for the rest of the year. Essential listening, this will be your new favourite band.

AD Rating 9.5/10


3 Trackbacks / Pingbacks

  1. Feature: Bear Makes Ninja track by track guide to Shenanagrams – Alt Dialogue
  2. News: Mixtape Volume 1 – Stream and Track by Track guide – Alt Dialogue
  3. Alt Dialogue’s Top 100 Albums of 2016: Part 2, 50 – 1 – Alt Dialogue

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