Everest CDEP - C-Side

Austin, Texas indie rock quintet Golden Bear are back with digital-only 20-minute EP Everest, which offers straightforward, four-minute nuggets that maintain the band's exploration of its self-referencing, self-described galactic-forest rock. This time around, Chris Gregory (guitar/vocals), Matt Gardiner (keyboards), Grant Van Ambergh (drums, percussion), Austin Jenkins (bass), and Andrew Gregory (keyboards) mix their exuberant indie influences with power-pop traces.

Up-tempo opener "Night Lights" surges with stacked guitars and rousing drums, while Gregory sings about keeping the nighttime party flowing and ignoring the coming dawn. "All the Stars" slows the momentum, adds some massed, Polyphonic Spree-ish horns, and examines personal identity as Gregory takes on the persona of an aging musician seeking peace of mind, akin to an indie rock update of the 1970s Mick Jagger film, Performance. Although it is not a blues tune, the Motown meets Pavement "Future Blues" is named after a Canned Heat song. The slightly funky number features scratching guitar, Jenkins's groove-laden bass, and an optimistic outlook for a brighter tomorrow. Gregory turns to the personal again on the psychedelic/indie rock title track, a meditation on his continuing music career and aspirations, and which evokes The Flaming Lips, with a nod to seventies-era arena rock. The final piece, "Miracle Mile," is assembled from heavy guitar riffs and is similar to Built To Spill or a less caustic Dinosaur, Jr., and is a catchy way to end the EP.

Unlike some EPs, Everest is not a throwaway venture or stop-gap measure to the next full-length release, but rather stands on its own.

By Doug Simpson



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