To further whet your appetite for their debut album Shenanagrams (released worldwide on CD, Vinyl and Digitally via Mountains Of Records on 14/03/16) Bear Makes Ninja give us a track by track guide to the album. Giving us an exclusive insight into each track this is a real treat, throw in the exclusive first airings of ‘Banned From Chicken’ and the excitement is palpable.
Double Twice – This is a track we’ve been playing around with since we wrote it in 2013. We’d tried it out as an opener at a few gigs and had a good response from the crowds, so we thought it would make a cool introduction to the album too. As an instrumental, it acts as a build-up into the following tracks and sets the tone of the album. Musically, it contains many of the elements and themes from the rest of the tracks, so expect energy and big riffs!
Aches & Veins – This track we wrote in the lead up to recording last year, which began with the guitar hook and went from there during a few practices. We chose this as the second track because it introduces the 3-part vocals, but also because it shows our more intricate but erratic sides. The lyrics are meant to accentuate that by portraying the feeling of restlessness and unease, sleepless nights and scattered thoughts. The track rounds off with a big, noisy riff, which serves to sum up that feeling of intensity.
Bob’s Logs – This is another new track, which we wrote last year. Again, starting off with the guitar hook that forms the beginning of the track and building on it from there. Like ‘Aches & Veins’, it’s another finger workout on guitar, but it’s really fun to play live. The theme for the lyrics in this song are about things being lost in translation through the sheer amounts of information we are exposed to nowadays and I think the energy and contrasts within the track help to put that point across.
Banned From Chicken – This track has a bit of a prog-rock feel to it, with the single note guitar riffs and the contrasting vocal lines. It’s another new one we wrote in the run up to recording and so is as yet untested live. The track rounds off with the repeated lyrics: ‘Work your fingers to the bone’ and without getting too political, most of us are expected to work full-time jobs and in a time where the retirement age is slowly creeping above our own life expectancy, it’s only natural to have a little angst spill out every now and then!
I Ditch Girls Who Believe In Ghosts – The title of this track comes from a true story about a long-time friend of the band and is the 2nd instrumental track on the album. We enjoy that contrast between the heavily worked vocal harmonies in other tracks on the album and the tracks with none at all and it makes a nice break both on recording and during live shows to rest our voices a little! This track serves to bring the mood down a bit in the middle of the album, with the interlocking guitar and bass melodies and the steady drum rhythm. ‘I Ditch girls’ has been in our live shows almost as long as we’ve been together and we wrote the whole piece in one practice off the back of Karina’s drum beat in the intro.
12345 – Another of the noobies for this album, 12345 attempts to capture some of our more punky and fast-paced influences, being the shortest track on the album. After the complexity of the guitars and vocals in the verses comes a 3-chord chorus with some more 3-part harmonies to give an uplifting feel in a song, where vocal themes centre around the thought of confronting challenges and fears.
These Little Snakes – James (guitars) actually came up with the drum groove for this track and had been playing around with different riffs for it for a while before we started work on the album. The finished piece feels quite happy and positive, but is cut through with emotive vocals about not losing sight of who you are as an individual. I guess the lines in the chorus ‘I’ll wait for you’ suggest that the people that matter most will always be around while you become the person you want to be.
Shenanagrams – This is the title track of the album and the one we felt would round things off well for the listener. It’s a balls-out rocker which follows our odd song structures and contrasting sections. The vocals focus on the ending of a good ol’ turbulent relationship and the thoughts and feelings of most people around these times. There’s a short break towards the end of the song, where things mellow out a little, and Benji’s lyrics ‘Keep your friends close but your enemies closer’ pan around your head, summing up the theme of the song before more big riffs and harmonies erupt at the end.
Pick up the album on release day here
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