Though at times it buckles under the weight of its own ambition, The Bunny The Bear’s A Liar Wrote This is nothing if not an interesting release. Combining post-hardcore with distinctly more melodic elements, it’s a warped exploration of the place where beauty and horror overlap. The contrasting tones of founding member Matthew Tybor and the newly inducted Haley Roback might initially take some off guard, but the mash up of styles and voices soon comes to wield some very interesting results.
Indeed, the album is at its strongest when Tybor and Roback stand in direct contrast. Roback’s voice is strikingly fluid – she has the tonal range and emotive power of a true pop heavy hitter, most notably showing off her talents on the airy Empty Hands. Roback, by contrast, is capable of some incredibly harsh vocal work: at its most extreme, his voice sounds like it could warp wood, or sour milk, and the opening few lyrics of Sick, Sad Eyes sound genuinely terrifying when belted out in his gruff bark.
Combining these two disparate vocal styles sets the stage for the album’s great pleasures. Hearing the two join forces and sing Oblivion’s bridge thrills in a unique way that it is hard to exactly describe: the song has a primal – nay, carnal – heft, one that bypasses the head altogether and aims straight for the pit of the stomach. Indeed, even hearing the two take turns to lead throughout Somewhat Standards works, where it could so easily have felt tiresome and studied.
There are moments when the balance is lost, however, and at times A Liar Wrote This sounds dramatically over-polished. Loose Lips oversteps the mark so significantly that it comes to feel sappy and saccharine, and though the relentless production work has its benefits, it makes a song like It’s Not Always Cold In Buffalo (Revisited) feel disturbingly like a showtune.
Nonetheless, attempting an experiment that doesn’t always work remains a great deal more worthy than never taking the chance in the first place, and The Bunny The Bear deserve some commendation for aiming their sights on a genuinely unique goal. A Liar Wrote This has flashes of brilliance, and at times truly feels like nothing else.