Ghost Robot Ninja Bear

Ghost Robot Ninja Bear

Written by: PP on 20/12/2011 06:13:02

Say what you want about their ridiculous band name, but Ghost Robot Ninja Bear play a solid compendium of punk rock on their self-titled debut album. Not earth-shatteringly good or worthy of any nominations on your end-of-year lists, but good enough to pop on when you're in the mood for some honest, well-written punk rock by the books. And by books I mean Hot Water Music. The band showed potential on their EP last year, and essentially the eight track 'album' picks up exactly where it left off, delivering more of the coarse, yet anthemic Gainesville punk rock in the vein of Hot Water Music and Small Brown Bike from start to finish.

I've said it many times before and I'll say it again, HWM are so good that all bands that are inspired by their sound have to do a lot of things wrong before they'll turn to shit. As long as they stick to the basics - soaring vocal hooks, great guitar dynamics, and an overall honest sound - they'll be on safe waters. And that's more or less what GRNB do here. Like many Hot Water Music songs, the ones by GRNB aren't obviously catchy, but require the listener to dig deep underneath the unpolished surface to uncover the subtle melodies and soaring vocal hooks. But once you discover them, they have much more of a lasting effect than your average pop punk band. The songs exhibit a strong sense of honesty and passion for music, which the band also underlines on their Bandcamp page where they make an explicit point that no production tricks were used on the record: what you hear is what you'll also hear when the band plays live.

All the songs on the record are your standard HWM inspired punk rock songs, which means they are good and solid all-around, but not necessarily awe-inspiring or refreshing. With one exception: the hardcore/screamo track "Pilots" sounds awfully misplaced. I know they did this same thing on their EP last year, but I just don't understand what purpose it serves to throw one screamed track on an album that otherwise relies strictly on the dynamics of HWM punk rock. But other than that, any HWM fan should be all over this one.


Download: The Curtain Call, Watching Me Watching You, Swamps Of Nova
For the fans of: Hot Water Music, Small Brown Bike, Campaign
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 09.03.2011

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