Sometimes, and not every time, you get that positive and agitated inkling that a band could be even closer to something they haven’t fully discovered yet, China Bears have all the right cards to take down the house, if they want it, and new EP ‘I’ve Never Met Anyone Like You‘ on Fierce Panda Records is definitely an exciting place to start.
Formed in the mighty Somerset in 2015, that’s already 4 years ago my friends, China Bears are twin brothers Ivan (Guitar/Vox) and Frazer (Guitar), along with James (Bass) and Dean (Drums) who all met at University in Guildford. Releasing three independent singles so far (Meet Me In London, Hydra and Night Calls) they’ve received air-time on BBC 6 Music, Radio 1, BBC Introducing and Radio X but I feel like they’ve got even more in them and a live show is what you need to experience. So, this is lucky, as they’ve got a full national tour this November, which forms part of Fierce Panda’s 25th Anniversary, and this new EP (Order/Listen right here) is ready to grace the world and venues near you.
Cold Shivers is a solid opener, driving through the darkness with textured production that offers enough space for the song to feel both intimate and expansive. The big, obvious, indie track is Stay for Good, which has been pushed as their lead single and it’s easy to understand why. Sharp, catchy and guitar-laden and it reminded me of some of Editors early work.
Sunday is one of my favourites on the EP, there’s something equally mellow and magnificent brewing through every moment of the song. Sweeping, powerful and self-reflective, forming a deeper, more cohesive soundscape here as well, especially prevalent here. This track is fighting with the demons of a relationship that seemingly keeps returning to a negative place, but there’s something extensive and visceral about the swirling strength of the composition, something bigger and bolder building all the time, something the likes of The National offer so perfectly, you feel the influence filtering through here. Trick Me is another that fits in perfectly after Sunday, it just works and feels like a first album track, quite effortlessly.
Overall, this EP has elements of the Parachutes-era Coldplay, with an essence of the more low-key interesting early days of Muse, but still – and without cliché – very much their own sound with mature depth and possibility. For me, the lead singer of any band is important and my way inside the music, too soft and you can be lost in the music and too over-baring and it loses the magic but that’s what interesting about China Bears, they’ve got balance and it’s clear from this EP there’s even bigger work to come, no pressure lads.
While I’d say they’re still pushing out the tentacles of their final sound as a band, they’re slowly carving out their own spot and this is an often underestimated and tricky place to get to, in a good way. And, as we all know, not everyone gets their with such early work. This is a mature soundscape, and there’s so much room to grow, keep an eye out for this 4-piece at a venue near you very soon.
Catch them on tour, see the listings below, and order/listen to the EP now: https://orcd.co/chinabears_inmaly_ep
- September 4th – London – Sebright Arms (+ National Service + Prima Queen)
- October 25th – Bedford – Esquires (w/ Bridges)
(with the support of fierce panda records : 25 alive)
- Mon 11th – Brighton – Latest Music Bar
- Sun 17th – Exeter – Cavern
- Mon 18th – Birmingham – Sunflower Lounge
- Tues 19th – Bristol – Crofters Rights
- Wed 20th – Guildford – Boileroom
- Thur 21st – Cardiff – Tiny Rebel
- Fri 22nd – Colchester – CODA
- Sat 23rd – Norwich – Bermuda Bob’s Hi-Fi
- Sun 24th – Leicester – Soundhouse
- Mon 25th – Manchester – Castle Hotel
- Tues 26th – Leeds – Hyde Park Book Club
- Wed 27th – York – Fulford Arms
- Thurs 28th – Newcastle – Surf Cafe
- Fri 29th – Sheffield – Cafe Totem
- Sat 30th – Liverpool – The Jacaranda