Formed in 2011, Vancouver based electro-dance band, Bear Mountain, set out to develop an alternative sound that is self-described by the band as “blended live instrumentation with a dancing heartbeat.” Bear Mountain’s modest birth started as a bedroom project when frontman Ian Bevis and guitarist Kyle Statham began collaborating and experimenting with different sounds when they met at the University of Victoria in British Columbia. After early demos the duo quickly enlisted the talents of Bevis’ identical twin brother and drummer, Greg Bevis. As Bear Mountain continued to record and play locally, they eventually sought out fourth “band member” Kenji Rodriguez, who would serve as the band’s visual and creative director. With the use of projection and lights, Rodriguez has created a distinct visual identity that quickly became a stand out feature of Bear Mountain’s already unique live performances.
Debuting in August of last year, Bear Mountain’s first album, XO, does an impeccable job at defining the band’s sound, floating in and out between experimentation and genre mainstays. Tribal-like beats layered with Beavis’ light-as-air vocals are immediate standouts on my favorite song of the album, “Congo,” and are quickly accompanied by catchy guitar riffs and a wailing synth. “Congo” was the first of several tracks on the album that lured me in and quickly had me listening on repeat. Much like Jack Kerouac, the author whose novel, “Dharma Bums” that the band draws their name from, Bear Mountain seems to be trying their best to carve a path in a culture laden with genre parameters, and I have to say that I am impressed with their efforts.
– Christian Lerchenfeld