The Bunny the Bear - Food Chain

Victory Records veterans The Bunny the Bear bring on the weird for their fifth studio album, Food Chain. As with previous albums, Matthew "The Bunny" Tybor takes on the lion's share—or "bunny's share"—of the songwriting responsibilities. After a short departure, Chris "The Bear" Hutka returns to lend his clean vocals to this sonic clusterfuck.

Understand that TBTB exists in a fairly thin genre. "Electrocore", or "technocore", or "electronic post-hardcore", or what-the-hell-ever people want to label it, aren't exactly shining examples of accessible and marketable music. Too heavy to be pop, too soft to be metal, their music settles somewhere in the neighborhood of—I shutter to say this—screamo.

Like Jekyll and Hyde, Food Chain is equally "pretty" with angelic synth leads under nasally cleans, and "ugly" with whogivesashitcore breakdowns featuring some cringe-worthy screeching. Unfortunately, neither of these sonic personae are executed well enough to move The Bunny The Bear beyond mediocre niche sweethearts. My main beef with TBTB is Tybor's God awful gurgling-on-the-verge-of-vomiting highs and breathlessly forced lows, which are sloppily jammed into every nook and cranny of Food Chain, at many points overshadowing Hutka's subtle intonations (listen to "Flying Like a Bird").

For all its faults, Food Chain does have some redeeming qualities. Hutka's performance shines far beyond that of Tybor. "Skyscrapers" and "Lost" are perfect examples of what The Bear can do, given the chance. The instrumentation, while weak and lacklustre in the rhythm section, isn't so terrible. That's about as positive as I'll dare to get until TBTB puts Hutka in the spotlight and considers hiring someone who can scream without triggering my gag reflex.

If you're into Enter Shikari or still holding out hope for Ghenghis Tron to end that "hiatus" they've been on for four years, you may want to give Food Chain a cautious listen.