Better Than Shock Therapy
Bi-Polar Bear’s new album When Ledge Is Home is a 10 track collection of brilliance. On their last LP, Today I Found Happiness, the duo gave the album away to their fans for free. This time around, through the use of Kickstarter and the help of 115 backers pledging over $8,000, those same fans got a chance to repay the favor. The duo of Ugly Orwell and August has put supporters’ money to good use, creating an album that might just put the two of them on the radar.
Opener “Been Hiding” starts out slow with a jangly piano, but once the beat kicks in, the party starts. Both of the emcees are on point, and it’s an excellent choice for the album opener. “The Days” slows the tempo down a bit, but the pace feels more like home for the duo. Lyrics such as, “Maybe I run from nightmares / follow dreams / both suggest happiness is not here,” show that this is not an album filled with optimistic words and silver linings, but a peek into the manic-depressive behavior their name suggests.
“Keel” starts off with a mumbling, hard-to-decipher voice one might imagine running through the head of a schizophrenic. The lyrics, “Press the blade to the vein / not enough to bleed but enough to drain,” start off the first verse and pop up throughout the song, remixed and reinterpreted, serving as a sort of chorus amiss the madness. The song goes on to evaluate the mental health of both the emcees and society as a whole with the lyrics, “Better yet lithium / for the days we’re living in.” Tucked away at the end of the album is the most precious of the gems orchestrated here. “Feathers” represents a glimmer of hope at the end of the struggle. The cathartic statement, “Journaling about what life’s like / just to find a reason to like life,” summarizes an emotional outpouring this nation of diary writers and bloggers can relate to.
Ug and August may have found an option cheaper than therapy to exorcise the demons with When Ledge Is Home. The emotional barrage of lyrics might hit close to home for some, but it’s that type of solace that will make you listen to this album over and over again.