As that “nowt” might suggest, this is a Leeds band, a trio of Tom Bradley (guitar, vocals), Richard Vowden (bass, vocals) and Michael Osborne (drums). Their debut album makes clear their love of math-rock and hardcore, the guitar piledriving, the percussion fierce and the vocals scream-y. This is loud, angry music, in the vein of Fugazi or Shellac. The first word of the first song (‘Thick Black Warpaint’) is “pain”, and the Bears build from that to attack society’s over-consumerism, while the math-rocky ‘Right Honourable Money’ satirises rich religious leaders. Meanwhile, the exciting/excitable ‘He Should Have Died (As A Kid)’ describes the last man on a post-apocalyptic earth wishing he were dead. ‘Ongoing Opera’ (from which the album title is lifted) is a tribute to their versatility, changing tack and tempo various times and transitioning from smouldering opening to full-on aggressive chorus as they attack laziness and reliance on who you know. The strongest track is the powerful post-punky ‘Smoker’, which sticks in your head like Velcro, full of fierce but funny self-deprecation: “People ask me ‘why do I hate myself’/ I just ask them: ‘don’t you’?”
This is loud and powerful modern guitar music, a relentless reflection of the struggles of modern life and a call for sorting it out yourself, musically and socially. The band are building a DIY community in Leeds and if they have half the energy of their debut record, they’ll nail it in no time.