It’s that time of year again. When I write about a song from the claustrophobic heights of a 747, replete with no insight into artist or track and with only a small, paranoid voice in the back of my head for company reminding me, repeatedly, that everything is more emotional at 35,000 feet. But Bearcubs is different to the way I usually write about music in aeroplanes. And ‘Do You Feel’, without any punctuation, states rather than asks, demanding that we listen, really listen, and answer regardless. It’s impossible not to, thanks to the tapestry of tension the British lad (I can tell at least that much) has woven across a few minutes.
Ostensibly, Bearcubs is supposed to slot into the ‘James Blake/Jamie Woon‘ school of songwriting pretty seamlessly. He’s got these lines of tortured lyrics and a generally downcast approach to musicality that evokes the dreariest, and often most talented, of the British electro-indie vanguard. But Bearcubs is beyond that, he shadowboxes his way out of classification and towards something infinitely more slippery, propped up by tension in all it’s forms. On ‘Do You Feel’, there’s tension in the sparse, metallic percussion and the woozy groove of the synths below. There’s tension in the way Bearcubs has treated his lyrics to sound so submerged, so underwater, and yet they cut, particularly sharply with his most non-gratuitous use of the word ‘fuck’. There’s tension in the way the pitched up vocal effects seem to mimic his vocals, respond to them, tease him.
Perhaps the most resonant point of tension, however, is that which characterizes Bearcubs’ own mindset; we’re never sure, listening to ‘Do You Feel’, whether he’s reprimanding a former lover or taking aim at himself, for failing to engage. Even as he posits, ‘Give a fuck right from the start, did you’, the lack of a question mark infects his King Krulian delivery so that it’s not hard to imagine Bearcubs staring into a mirror, taunting himself to feel more, feel anything. That mystery is writ large in the musicality of this piece, by turns warm and familiar, and skittish and aggressive. This is not Bearcubs’ most popular song yet (that honor goes to ‘Underwaterfall‘) but if ‘Do You Feel’ is any indication, he’s set to grab attention – on land and in the air.
Bearcubs – Do You Feel