Bear Trade - Hip Flask Life [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Bear Trade

Hip Flask Life [EP] (2013)

Dead Broke Rekerds

I saw Bear Trade support the Blacklist Royals. They were very good but had sold out of the one release they had out at the time which was frustrating. I subsequently got hold of a copy of the Nile Street Sound two-track CD and to be honest was left feeling somewhat confused.It seemed to be a case of a really good live band not being able to reproduce that power and engagement when recorded.

Further down the line I was given a copy of the Hip Flask Life 7-inch which had six tracks from the band, including the two from that CD. I have to admit to have been more than apprehensive on playing it, given my previous encounter and ended up listening to it with my eyes screwed tightly shut (I'm not really sure why I did that to be honest but I did), and lo and behold I saw the light. Ok, it wasn't a big, bright white shining light that gave me that eureka moment, but I could figure out that I did actually enjoy the music and could accept the recordings in their own right.

So, you probably want to know what this band sounds like now don't you? Ok here goes; it's thick, tuneful, melodic punk rock that packs a bit of a punch on record, but is more like taking a quick one-two from Mike Tyson (I'm not up on current boxers so not able to reference someone more relevant these days) when heard live. It's fairly mid-paced throughout, with some decent guitar work and it's obvious that these (slightly) older guys know what they're doing with the equipment at their disposal -- the band includes personnel from Blocko, Southport and Former Cell Mates. Without a doubt "Wake" is the strongest song of the sextet whilst "Age Is A High Price To Pay For Maturity" which is on the Nile Street Sound CD, somehow sounds better on this release. There is a distinct Englishness surrounding the sound, but there are also moments that make me think of bands such as Hot Water Music too.

This is a grower and it's worth checking out. However, if you get the chance to see the band live then do so as it's the perfect way to become acquainted with them (buy them a beer too if you can -- they'll appreciate it).