I’m not entirely sure how I stumbled across Bearings–I have a sneaking suspicion someone told me to check them out–but they made enough of an impression that I’m going to write about them! Well, their newest EP to be exact (which is only two songs so really I’m cheating).
This band has a wonderful pop-punk sound that is reminiscent of the early 2000’s while still having a more modern feel to it, especially on the production side of things. Overall they’re just a lot of fun and I enjoy finding artists that are a) small in terms of their fan-base and b) make me want to get up and dance. There are at least a half-dozen other songs by Bearings that I would have loved to come and talk about but considering this is their most recent release I thought it made more sense to focus on these two tracks instead. So with that on to the music.
This is a pop punk band under the label of Pure Noise Records that has five members in its current line-up: Doug Cousins (vocals), Ryan Culligan (guitar/vocals), Collin Hanes (bass), Ryan Fitz (guitar), and Michael Mckerracher (drums).
They are also currently touring with Grayscale so that’s cool!
They don’t seem to be very good at including bios but if they want to keep personal information to themselves than that’s perfectly fine with me.
So Damn Wrong (2019)
I really enjoyed the synthy piano keys that are at the beginning of this song. There’s a very retro feel to them that adds a great atmosphere to the overall track.
Cousins’ vocals are one of the first things that I noticed about this band and they certainly grabbed my attention. There’s something very classically pop-punk about the way that he sings along with this kind of energy and force behind the way that he chooses to sing these lines.
I think that I can love you
The way that you love me
Do you love me?
I absolutely love the way the drums come in at the chorus. They hit you with this wonderful force behind them because they’re sort of stuttering up to this point–coming in for a few beats before cutting out again–so when they come in with this full sound you almost feel it in your chest (especially paired with the bass).
I Feel It All (2019)
This song does a wonderful job of still fitting into its pop-punk influence without becoming too chaotic and losing the soft atmosphere.
There’s some wonderful light key work done in this song that really helps to keep that lighter atmosphere and the vocals themselves take on an air quality with help from the backing vocals for harmonies. There’s also some digital filtering on the vocals themselves in the pre-chorus which actually helped to amplify that quieter moment before the instrumentation comes back in.
More than that, there are some well placed moments of silence or vocals without instrumentation that keep the song from becoming too repetitive.
The guitars themselves are very sparse throughout this track until right before the bridge were they actually get a chance to play a bit but even then it’s not a super-fast or complicated rift being inserted at that point. I think this is an easy track to have gotten out of hand had they tried to do too much with it but in this case less is more and they were able to keep that sound somewhat muted later which really helped keep that vibe of the song.
Bonus Track: Tide (2018)
Alright, so I have a thing about doing at least three tracks when I write these and this is my favourite song by Bearings so I had to talk about it even though it’s from their 2018 album Blue in the Dark.
This is a beautiful and quiet track that made me stop what I was doing and just listen. I love music that I feel the need to simply listen to–as if doing anything else would take away from the music–and there are very few artists that can do this for me (I actually can’t do anything else if I’m listening to Led Zeppelin; It’s all or nothing with that band).
I pretend that I’m the mountains, pretend that I’m the sky
Cause both those things will still be here after the day I die
The acoustic guitars are beautiful and Cousins’ voice is given space to really shine. There’s nothing super showy in what he’s doing but it’s a solid vocal performance that seems to be in a really comfortable placement for him. The ethereal vocalizations in the bridge at a nice touch too. Really, it’s just a beautiful song all round.
This is a really easy band to listen to and it fits with a vibe I look for when I’m just having a weird day and don’t want anything too heavy. That being said, I’m not sure if this is a band I will ever listen to a lot. I don’t mind having them in a playlist and probably wouldn’t skip one of their songs if it came on but I’m not sure if I would ever search a song out–even Tide, as beautiful as that song is.
The real problem is that it’s a little too light for me–I like loud music that gets right up into my comfort-zone and demands I listen to what it has to say. Bearings is not one of those bands.