Get your children! Mamas, reveal your daughters! Portland, Oregon’s The Golden Bears are back to softly and sweetly guide us through the trails and tribulations of parenthood, adulthood, livelihood and any and everything else-hood. Listen up.
It’s hard to categorize the music of Seth Lorinczi and Julianna Bright. Before they were The Golden Bears of Portland, Oregon they were The Quails of San Francisco, California (alongside Jen Smith), churning out progressive, spastic, post-punk love songs to their friends, their city and the artistic community that surrounded them.
They made this city a better place throughout the early ’00s and their positivity and creative ambition in both the musical / lyrical sense and within the queer and otherwise community was consistently an inspiration to bear witness to and be apart of.
And then they broke up. Like most bands that rule. And life continued, though those sweaty and seething, dance-crazy shows are remembered fondly by many. Bright and Lorinczi relocated to Portland to buy a house and raise a child—things increasingly impossible to do in our fair city by the bay.
After getting settled, they began building a studio basement, and soon after released their debut under the name The Golden Bears in 2008. Titled Wall to Wall (Amore!Phonics), the album was created while awaiting the arrival of their daughter. Themes of voyage, anticipation, growth and passage were prominent, as was a noted level maturity and development within the craft of songwriting and musicianship.
The pace was slower than previous projects, but the message was no less clear—things may have been changing but the love and wonder remain.
With the completion of their sophomore release Write It Like You Find It (Jealous Butcher), we find ourselves on a similar path though this one is slightly worn, broken-in, knowing and necessary. Themes of motherhood are explored, sleep-deprivation, sexual desire, the newness coupled with re-experiencing life through the eyes of another. Write It Like You Find It is an honest and open exploration of life as a unit as opposed to life as a singular being. It is struggle, fatigue, wonder, satisfaction, contentedness and deliberation all in one.
The songs are pure and genuine both in the playing and the delivery of the performance. The production quality is clear and true. The vocals seem to melt through the speakers and into the air while the percussion provides a persistent heartbeat. The piano and guitar sparkle through the verse and chorus and every added effect feels like a treat, deliberate, like a slight wink. This album is bright, intimate and wise. Whether a love song to a child such as “All the Birds” or a love song to life as in “Lightning”, the latest from The Golden Bears is proof that the Bright / Lorinczi unit is going strong and shows no signs of ceasing. This stern is not taking water; it is producing the very air we breathe.
Write It Like You Find It is out on February 7, 2012. It is available though the Jealous Butcher website.