Music Reviews

Spirit Fest Bear In Town

(Morr Music) Rating - 7/10

It’s always a cause for celebration when new music from Spirit Fest hits the streets. Formed by members of Tenniscoats (Saya and Ueno Takashi) and The Notwist (Markus Acher), Bear In Town, is the follow-up to the group’s finest moment: 2020’s Mirage, Mirage. Ironically, Bear In Town’s melancholy predecessor benefitted from its early pandemic release. Coming forth in more normal times, Bear In Town is equally lovely but feels somewhat slighter as a result. Vocals (both Japanese and English) are traded between Acher and Saya to great effect. The group (which also includes Cico Beck and Mat Fowler) gels best on In Our House, where the rim taps, synth, and piano are custom-made for the opening notes of a film soundtrack. Acher’s lead vocals, which relate to staying indoors on a winter day, make for a perfectly simple signature track for the group—and the song fully blossoms when Saya joins for the outro. Like A Plane, with its free-to-fly anywhere imagery and sublime keyboard notes, makes for a compelling theme song for the intercontinental group. Only Hill Blo feels a bit out of place with a straightforward bossa nova beat and maybe not best suited for the album’s longest track. But the closing title track gets things back on pace with its loose and playful slant. Bear In Town makes for another charming and welcome addition to the group’s catalog.