Skip to content

Bear Colony

Who? Bear Colony, which features members of Unwed Sailor and Lovedrug, is the brainchild and heart of singer/songwriter Vince Griffin. Just two years ago, Griffin was diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease. His decision? To grab ten of his closest friends and make an album. The bright electronic-tinged sweetness that is We Came Here to Die was released via Esperanza Plantation in early 2007.

What’s the Deal? In the way Bear Colony plays tug of war between restraint and free-for-all, We Came Here to Die recalls an electro-fied Broken Social Scene. It’s in the tension between these two points of view — where the urge to let it all go meets the understanding that it can’t — that Griffin nestles his voice. It’s a voice frustrated by fate (knowing about his disease surely colors this fact, but, hey, so would knowing the songwriter suffered a breakup), but Griffin never seems defeated. On the contrary, We Came Here to Die‘s songs alternately reach out, as with the delicate yet forceful “Suffocation,” or they struggle for a kind of understanding and peace (“I’m Not Brave,” “The Boy With Broken Arms”). Griffin’s fight is a good one; he comes out sounding like someone who’s got a lot to lose and everything to gain — he later learned that he was wrongly diagnosed. His band responds with appropriate urgency and a promise: with their melodies, beats and beeps, they’ll get him where he needs to go. That kind of backup doesn’t come around often, and Bear Colony operates like they know it.

Fun Fact: We Came Here to Die‘s album art is the work of Jesse LeDoux, a Providence, RI artist who has also designed album sleeves for bands such as the Shins, Six Parts Seven, Pedro the Lion, Hellogoodbye and the Little Ones.KAITLIN FONTANA

Now Hear This: Bear Colony – “Hospital Rooms Aren’t for Lovers” DOWNLOAD MP3

On the Web:

Talk: Is this a bear you’d take to dinner? Or is this colony still uncivilized?