Written by Brandon George
The Japanese indie rock bands Bearwear and THE TIVA dropped an absolute killer EP. The EP is as symmetrical as a split can be: two songs from each band with one of the songs featuring the other band’s vocalist.
The result is a powerful release that highlights both bands’ versatility, delivering messy grunge, dancing indie rock, a wistful lo-fi track, and ending with an emotional shoegaze-inspired joint.
On the opener from THE TIVA, “Laid Back,” fuzzy guitars haltingly strum in, calling to mind stoner rockers of the early 2000s. There is a brilliant laziness to the vocal delivery that embodies the track’s trading lyricism about the fear of time passing and being undeserving of success, before finally coming around to rejoice in the belief that eventually “my time will come.”
The choruses of “Down the river” feature a tilting arpeggiated guitar line typical of THE TIVA’s signature swagger. A marching snare and descending chord line mark the song’s bridge and lead into a transition into the final chorus, one of the standout moments of the EP.
It’s indicative of THE TIVA’s ability to leap between soft, emotional segments, and louder rousing moments while still maintaining a sense of clarity and purpose.
Bearwear’s offerings for the split include the downtempo R&B track, “forever and a day,” with the mixture of electronic drums, crackling vinyl sample, and reverb-heavy guitar chords that have come to be popular in lo-fi hip hop over the past few years.
A muted female voice loops mournfully as Kazma Kobayashi’s vocals slowly layer and build to echo the sample’s sentiments to be together forever. The tonal shift acts as an effective transition to the closer.
“Far East” features both bands in a joyous track that jumps from rousing bluesy unison guitar lines to a chorus with both singers harmonizing on top of synth organs and guitars.