Listening to Bears' Shortest Day of the Year is like strolling through a quaint European mountain village. It's a breath of fresh air with nothing much to worry about. At a mere 19 minutes, it seems over too soon but will leave you with a nice feeling. In fact, "nice" is the best word to describe this band. Bears are a Cleveland-based acoustic indie-pop band. Their music is mid to slow-tempo with catchy melodies and full, thick textures. And although the lyrics hint at introspection, it's rarely depressed or depressing; rather, it's gives off a more breezy and carefree vibe. If you were a fan of the Garden State soundtrack, you'll love this disc.
Bears represent that sort of folky, indie sound that has been popular the last five or six years with such artists as the Shins, Postal Service and Damien Rice. Yet while most of these bands make music to support the lyrics, Bears make lyrics to support the music. The arrangements and instrumentation are often beautiful but the lyrics are forgettable and seem almost unnecessary. One can't help but feel a closeness to these artists, who are passionate and honest about their music. Shortest Day is a lovely endeavor and a truly enjoyable listen.