With only one album to their name and then both label and band dissolving soon afterwards, fate decreed that dreampop act Sunbear would be an obscurity forever. It’s unfortunate therefore that this Dublin band passed me by but some of this music sounds marvellous now; a real achievement considering this compilation is dubbed as a rarities collection.
First up is ‘Leadbelt’. It’s a real emotional powerhouse with some excellent key changes and a soaring chorus every bit as euphoric as a Kitchens Of the Distinction classic. ‘Seeing Stars’ is another lost treasure; as some breezy bass-driven verses give way to another explosive volley of guitar effects. Amongst other highlights are the uncomplicated brilliance of ‘Each To Their Own’ and some heavenly harmonies at the core of ‘Somebody Change The Season’.
The title track of the ‘Dog’ EP, meanwhile, sounds alarmingly like an Oasis ballad, only much more palatable and it as this stage where the band seem to be shedding their shoegaze skin and heading into a Brit-rock/indie direction. Sure, there are weaker moments (‘Send That Monkey To Mars’ is a charming epic but is hamstrung by a lack of a hook) but this being a collection of EPs and unreleased tracks, the occasional lapse can be forgiven. The delicately undulating ‘Fond Memories Of New York’ though, is an example of their late-period genius.
Pleasingly Sunbear now perform as The Ruby Tailights meaning they still exist in another form. Well done to Indiecater for releasing their music and showing what shoegaze fans missed out on the first time.
Ride, Chapterhouse, Swervedriver