State Faults - Head in the Clouds (As Brother Bear) (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

State Faults

Head in the Clouds (As Brother Bear) (2010)


One might argue that the more popular sect of screamo revival over the past few years is actually entirely more melodic and accessible than what we've come to regard as the golden years of the '90s. Still, it's hard to deny that some of the bands are doing it in captivating ways. Brother Bear's Head in the Clouds EP hints at an act that could join this fold in no time.

The untitled opening track begins with a soft synth and a variety of females narrating isolated details from scattered stories of some sort. Then "Dreamcatcher" swoops in with a building acoustic/electric strum and twinkly guitars. While the main screamed vocal is a little hoarse and overall rough around the edges, everything gels together pretty well. Essentially, Brother Bear follow the formula Pianos Become the Teeth is gaining hype on: big atmospheres with hopeful tones and major key guitars, and a pained, passionate scream pulling it all along. (In fact, "Last Breath" kinda reminds me of "Pensive" with its haunting crawl, despite some heavier cross-sections.) The "I am a dreamcatcher" hook is a little corny on paper, but are you gonna scream along with it under your breath anyway? Probably.

Brother Bear can just be a beautiful band during certain moments. When they bring the untitled fifth track to a close with rang-out plucks over nat sound from a children's playground, it's just pretty. Other times, they can be downright surprising, like with the clean, more nü-emo and possibly Auto-Tuned singing in "Tigerlilly" (which, really, isn't all that bad), plus most of that in the full-band, untitled and mostly acoustic closer, which is wayyy more Copeland than City of Caterpillar.

The few jarring turns on Brother Bear's EP here are actually executed fairly smoothly, but their bread and butter has serious potential as well. Isn't that the point, though? Get pigeonholed and compliments backhandedly, then break out of it with something fresh? They're doin' it right.