A Liar Wrote This
Hybridized genre benders The Bunny The Bear live up to their tagline as presenting “a breed of experimental hardcore the likes of which the music industry has never encountered.” The Buffalo, NY duo are an extremely versatile pair that routinely take on multiple vocal fronts all the while melodically mashing together elements of pop, hardcore, metalcore, synth-pop, altrock, experimental, and just about everything else under the sun. The result can be found on their latest full length, A Liar Wrote This, as a cacophony of harsh and clean sounds that surface and retreat without much regard for convention. The display makes for quite a mouthful and tends to throw caution to the wind, which begs the question of how their latest full length, A Liar Wrote This, plays out.
By and large, The Bunny The Bear stay true to their mish-mash of styles in a hit or miss type of way. Not hit or miss in execution (they’re quite proficient in their breadth) – but more likely in their likeliness to keep any one audience engaged for the entirety of A Liar Wrote This. The core of the confusion stems from the multiple personalities of Matthew “The Bunny” Tybor and newcomer Haley “The Bear” Roback (who replaced longtime male vocalist Chris Hutka as the bear). The two of them are worlds apart; but that’s not the problem – they actually compliment one another nicely in beauty meets the beast kind of way. Rather, it’s The Bunny’s multiple personalities – screamo, throat-core, hardcore, punk, deathcore – that result in the biggest turnoff.
For instance, tracks like “Vows” and “Love, Trust And Compromise” really nail the head of the gut-wrenching spoken-word screamo end of the spectrum (The Saddest Landscape), whereas those like “Curtain Call” and “Oblivion” speak mostly to the death-metal crowd with such demonic vocal agony you’d think you were listening in on a conversation amongst hell spawn (i.e. Cannibal Corpse). While both of those camps likely form a loose mutual respect for one another (even if they may not be crazy for one another), the entirely clean and poppy female vocals leading the uncharacteristically calming piano ballad “Empty Hands” may go wholly underappreciated (despite offering up some thoughtful album pacing). Even so, something this calm feels really, really out of place amidst such chaos (instrumentally the track feels like a worship song).
Album highlights like “Lover’s Touch” best communicate The Bunny The Bear’s best potential. Blending into a sort of synthy screamo cocktail, the catchy, pop-flavoured chorus intertwines elements of Roback’s vocals for a sort of readily sought after middle ground. In other words, balance is key. When that balance holds up, A Liar Wrote This holds its ground. But with so many briefly injected novelties, the disc soon becomes a hit or miss affair. For instance, the experimental goth tones of “Somewhat Standard” play out atmospherically, but the weird Tom-Delonge-ish vocals popping up throughout “Loose Lips” are entirely distracting.
All in all, A Liar Wrote This has something for everyone – but everyone won’t like everything. The Bunny The Bear demonstrates a high proficiency in their varied hybridized styles, but even those with an open mind will likely succumb to the sonic equivalent of motion sickness from being jerked around so recklessly. For those that find interest in the above descriptions, track by track cherry picking will serve as the best approach to A Liar Wrote This.