My Name Is Bear is the latest release from Nahko Bear, with this being a bit of a change from the last album the talented singer-songwriter worked on, where he fronted a band called Nahko and Medicine for the People, with their 2016 record Hoka being one of our favourite albums from last year.
This album is a solo album for Bear, and whilst some may continue his previous work to have been solo work under the guise of being in a band, there are some differences, with this being a much more stripped down affair, at least in regards to last years record.
When we first reviewed Hoka last year, we couldn’t keep ourselves from thinking that Bear’s vocals were reminiscent of those of Marcus Mumford from Mumford and Sons. It seems like a weird comparison, but listen and you’ll hear it. Bear seems to have taken things even further that way here, with the majority of the tracks being similar to the slow burning types that featured on that other band’s second album Babel. That record was criticised somewhat for being too samey, and the same criticism can be levelled firmly at My Name Is Bear, as it seems to be somewhat lacking in creativity, sadly being much more generic than Bear’s previous work. There also seems to be a good deal of pretentiousness present, and whilst the singer-songwriter’s other work always had that sort of attitude to it, it generally felt purer than this, and interludes such as Bearly Thoughts are likely to put many people off. Put it this way – it’s not surprise that Bear is from Portland.
It’s a shame really, as we really enjoyed Bear’s previous album Hoka. Whilst there are some good tracks on My Name Is Bear, it does come across as contrived at times, and the hipster thing is overblown. Fans of Bear’s previous work may enjoy this, but just be warned that it isn’t up to his usual standard of music.
My Name Is Bear by Nahko is out now.