The Bunny The Bear - Stories

11 songs
43:38 minutes
***** ***


Times were when you knew that a band signed on Victory Records would provide hard hitting hardcore music, but that no longer applies today, with a roster ranging from indie pop to brutal death metal. But I wouldn’t have expected to hear something like The Bunny The Bear, a weird band if there ever was one.

Founded in 2008, they self-released their debut in 2010, before being signed to Victory Records. New albums followed regularly every year, which makes Stories their fourth longplayer, which is quite a testimony for their busyness. Right now, they are a duo consisting of screamo vocalist The Bunny (Matthew Tybor) and clean vocalist (Chris Hutka from the beginning until this album, to be followed by Joseph Garcia from now on). They also have a live touring band.

Both vocalists wear animal masks, and it may seem strange that the Bunny is screaming while the Bear is singing cleanly, but then it is even stranger that two grown men choose to wear masks. Their music is even weirder, combining elements of pop, dance and quite aggressive rock music. The vocals furthermore add to the schizophrenic nature of this project, ranging from mellow, high pitched emo parts to ultraviolent screamo deliveries, with hardly any middle ground being covered in between, although there are occasional moments of boy group crooning. The songwriting is quite competent, and when the duo lands a hit like the über-catchy In Like Flynn, they are really great, but also their more aggressive material like The Frog has its charms. Most of the time the band performs its idiosyncratic brand of aggro dance pop that would find millions of teen fans, were it not for the overwhelming brutality that occurs throughout the material.

My experience as a decades long listener of music has taught me that this kind of genre mix will scare away many people. Pop fans will be deterred by the unusual violence of the material, while extreme metal and hardcore fans will have zero tolerance for the ubiquitous pop and dance parts. But apparently the band has already found a huge following in the USA, and their videos on YouTube have already been watched over a million times. I admit that at first I was also quite clueless as to what to think about The Bunny The Bear, but after spending some time with Stories, I actually cherish the courage of this strange duo. The music may sound synthetic a lot of the time, with tons of synth and sequencer parts taking over the mood, and with programmed drum beats that pack quite a punch, but in the end it’s the result that counts, and The Bunny The Bear have nothing to fear there. If you are a truly open-minded and open-eared person, I strongly suggest that you check out this album. I guarantee you have never heard anything like this before.

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