Worrying about a broken world? BROKEN BEAR are here to help us shout into ‘The Void’ with their latest “3 EP LP” Bandcamp release.
Sometimes the world feels like it’s in complete… tatters. I’ve lost count of how many days Russian troops have been invading Ukraine. Or how many people in Pakistan have been affected by the severe flooding. Or how many women have been killed in Iran simply because they stand for the right to chose whether they would like to wear a burka or not. Even closer to home we have a crisis coming this winter – the privatisation of the energy companies under Thatcher coming back to bite with a vengeance as many are unable to afford heating their homes or feed their families.
We need music to reflect the turmoil of the world and bring a semblance of peace to the constant noise of shit repeatedly hitting the fan. Sometimes you need an escape. BROKEN BEAR are here to soothe your soul and call us to action (or into ‘The Void’ – the opener from their latest release, 3 EP LP, found on Bandcamp). Like us, BROKEN BEAR’s Laura and Paul are ‘waiting for a revolution’, whilst the reverb is taking us on a gentle trip away from reality for a couple of minutes (and, in true radio style, the songs are all under three minutes…. just enough time to burrow an ear-worm into your mind).
Yes… there’s a revival of 90s grunge at the moment (as well as the grunge fashion and Y2K) and it’s great that BROKEN BEAR are a female-fronted band, and not afraid to shout about it. Thinking back to the 90s, the Riot Grrrl movement married grunge and punk, allowing women to express rage with a healthy dose of shock value (and with what has been going on recently – in particular, the debate about women’s bodies and choices – I feel a resurgence coming back with a vengeance). BROKEN BEAR are more grunge than punk, but their writing themes centre around the political and social issues at hand. You can tell that they’re influenced not only by big players like Nirvana, but they’ve got elements of Radiohead – think Pablo Honey guitar riffs and a whole load of reverb.
Listen to “3 EP LP” by BROKEN BEAR on Bandcamp:
‘Endless Sleep’ is another cracking track, lulling us back into the 90s, back into the shelter of childhood so we don’t have to deal with being bombarded with information all the time. Laura and Paul are excellent at capturing the ’90s nostalgia in a Cranberries meets Nirvana – but sometimes I would like them to be even angrier. Their lyrics are scathing and I love their honesty, but I want some Cobain / Love rawness to the vocals just to juxtapose the silky alto. Wrap me into a false sense of security and then pull away the rug.
Edwyn Collins once lamented that there were ‘too many protest singers, not enough protest songs’. I think BROKEN BEAR would definitely pique his interest in this area. It’s anger and protest without shouting it from the rooftops – with some particularly scathing lines such as ‘making the world darker / won’t make you shine any brighter’ in “Narx” or ‘I cut my teeth as a professional whore / on my knees I can see much more / saving yourself is killing us all’, in “Bleach It”.
So, whilst the world may feel broken, at least we have music and art to help us get through it. At the moment, BROKEN BEAR are recording some new material in the studio and should be out of hibernation (I can’t take the credit for this pun) in early 2023. If the “3 EP LP” is anything to go by, let’s hope they gift us with the perfect soundtrack for the impending apocalypse.