One of the Detroit area's finest pop/rock bands returns with another new release as Bear Lake have just dropped the new EP "Pierre On The Loose". Last year's "If You Were Me" was one of my favorite local releases of 2011, garnering them further national attention, so it's nice to have more new material from the band so quickly.
"Pierre" is rather short, five tracks coming in at just under 18 minutes, but as usual Bear Lake have delivered accessible modern rock tracks with a knack for pop craftsmanship. "Crawl" may just be the catchiest thing they've ever released, with a killer chorus that is so catchy it should be illegal. If radio still mattered at all, this would be a massive hit. Frequent attendees of the band's numerous live shows will recognize "Strange Days" which has been in their set often preceding the EP.
The only downside to Bear Lake's studio material is if you've seen them live, which I make a point to as often as possible. They truly are one of the tightest, polished bands coming out of Detroit. They carry a stage presence fit for arenas and that has been rewarded with opening act sets for headliners such as Sheryl Crow, Eddie Money and Rick Springfield. Live they expand on and deliver a much more fleshed out sound, much heavier and harder than on record, and it can leave you wishing the studio versions had the little bit more punch their live shows do. Stephen Stetson is an amazing drummer in concert, but seems to be overshadowed by drum machines and electronic beats on tracks like the still solid "Acceptance". Jon Rice's guitar work is much more prominent live as well.
These are just minor complaints as Bear Lake's studio work is still not to be missed if you like a mix of melodic pop, modern rock and electronics. I still don't quite get the whole "Detroit's Radiohead" label, although I am sure they are an influence, Bear Lake are far from a Radiohead copycat. Even though they have had songs placed on numerous television shows, they deserve to truly be one of the next bands to break out nationally from the Detroit area.
"Pierre On The Loose" was self-released by the band June 9, 2012.