Solar Bear – Captains Of Industry Album Review

Solar Bear’s six-track EP, Captains Of Industry, opens with “Logical Fallacy,” a minute-long intro track that sounds like a Refused track run through a grainy vintage filter. And if its title is any indicator, the song is a bit of a trick; it puts you off your guard, making you wonder whether your speakers are turned down or if the band just committed a newbie recording mistake. But no such mistakes here, as made evident by the next track, “The Endless Choir.” Angular riffs dance around tricky time signatures, immediately making me think, “Yes, Solar Bear! I hate your band name, but I’ll still give your post-hardcore stylings a whirl!”

Listen to “The Endless Choir” – DOWNLOAD MP3

And my, I am glad I did. My favorite moment on Captains Of Industry might lie in the third track, “Mr. Iconoclastic Vs. The Captains Of Industry,” because at some point during vocalist Marcus Tallistch’s sing-scream-speak session, I realized: I like this band because I love These Arms Are Snakes. And with TAAS having kicked it in the proverbial bucket last year, I am more than stoked to find Denver’s Solar Bear. That being said, had the rest of the tracks on the album sounded like this one, I might have liked the band fine, but respected it only a small degree. Turns out Solar Bear is way more than just a TAAS rip-off band. The rest of the EP is surprisingly varied and more musically diverse than TAAS’ outputs, for certain. And though it may not seem obvious beneath the sheaths of gritty vocals and pummeling guitar, Solar Bear’s songwriting intelligence shines most in subtlety. “Eating Disorders” is particularly interesting in this regard; with every listen, I seem to pick out something new, be it a (potentially) Latin American-inspired guitar line, a goofy fantasy metal cowlick, or the surprising incorporation of piano. Ultimately, as with all bands in this ballpark that I love and respect — like TAAS or Fear Before or Hot Cross — Solar Bear achieves a sense of balance and grace within a framework of chaos.

(And, did I mention? They’re unsigned.)

Written by
Vee Hua 華婷婷

Vee Hua 華婷婷 (they/them) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. Much of their work unifies their metaphysical interests with their belief that art can positively transform the self and society. They are the Editor-in-Chief of REDEFINE, Interim Managing Editor of South Seattle Emerald, and Co-Chair of the Seattle Arts Commission. They also previously served as the Executive Director of the interdisciplinary community hub, Northwest Film Forum, where they played a key role in making the space more welcoming and accessible for diverse audiences.

Vee has two narrative short films. Searching Skies (2017) touches on Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States; with it, they helped co-organize The Seventh Art Stand, a national film and civil rights discussion series against Islamophobia. Reckless Spirits (2022) is a metaphysical, multi-lingual POC buddy comedy for a bleak new era, in anticipation of a feature-length project.

Vee is passionate about cultural space, the environment, and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures. They also regularly share observational human stories through their storytelling newsletter, RAMBLIN’ WITH VEE!, and are pursuing a Master’s in Tribal Resource and Environmental Stewardship under the Native American Studies Department at the University of Minnesota.

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Written by Vee Hua 華婷婷
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