Canada has had a fantastic production belt of talented, interesting bands coming out the country of late. Now, as Ottawa based alternative rock four-piece Bearings release their stellar sophomore album, ‘Blue In The Dark’, it appears we have another name to add to the list of solid Canadian acts.
While some may be quite quick to label Bearings as “just another pop-punk band”, the group are proving people wrong on their own terms. All across their latest effort, the quartet show a willingness to probe new elements, be it the unpredictability on snappy opener ‘Where Are You’, the snarly guitar solo on ‘Aformentioned’, or the ‘Flaws’-era Bombay Bicycle Club acoustic melodies on the title-track.
Frontman Doug Cousins had previously admitted in an interview to wanting to create a dynamic record not dissimilar to the ilk of Jimmy Eat World, and, in some places, they really do pull that off.
There are still moments where the group produce some more punk-y moments, with ‘Stuck In A Doorframe’ offering some of the album’s more hook-littered offerings. Elsewhere, the punch of tracks like ‘Love And Decay’ and ‘Eyes Closed’ are booming and pounding, while clever vocal lines draw you in invitingly.
While the band are inventive in many ways with their style and exploration of the pop-rock form, at times these more simplistic instances do hold back the album a little bit from delving into the grittier, more adventurous moments, yet, they’re still highly enjoyable all the same.
Cousins‘ lyricism holds up a microscope on the ups and downs of life, with a hopeful tone flowering out of the melancholic matters at hand. Tracks like ‘Goodbye (To All Of Our Friends)’, with its busy, belting chorus of gang vocals singing “In the end, we say goodbye to all of our friends” feeling like a sombre battle cry. Cousins himself is like a wounded soldier, unafraid to show his scars on the aforementioned title-track, where he belts, “Take my heart and make it feel. / Take my soul and make it real.”
Bearings should be pretty pleased with their ‘Blue In The Dark’, with the album offering up a solid follow-on from their debut, while contributing an additional dynamic and fearless nature to their staple sound. If this record is a marker of things to come from the Canadian outfit, then the only way is up.