By John Arthur
Befriend The Bears are a jazzy five-piece pop band from Austin. A bit like Dave Matthews Band, complete with saxophone and a guest horn section, Befriend The Bears offers straightforward, mellow music. Tiana Berlin’s vocals are cleaner, clearer, and prettier (think Feist) than Matthews’, though, giving the band an intimate feel.
Their five song EP, “Before They Take Over” was released on Jan. 22, 2012, and each song exhibits different aspects of the band’s aesthetic. Track one, “Jericho” features Berlin’s unadorned vocals solo, while on the next two tracks, “Bone Dry” and “Stolen,” Josh Arredondo joins Berlin vocally throughout each. “Jericho” is horn heavy and upbeat, whereas “Stolen” is more relaxed, featuring the twinkling guitar and synth of Aaron Sekula.
From track one to five, each song seems to get more and more mellow, with “Jericho” being the fastest-paced song on the EP and the final track, “Red Lantern,” feeling at times almost like a lullaby. Berlin sounds almost like Björk during parts of the final track, exhibiting her versatility throughout the entire EP.
“Before They Take Over” can be streamed or purchased from Befriend The Bears’ website.