By the time BEARINGS got the chance to properly tour their sophomore album, 2020’s Hello, It’s You, 16 months had passed due to, well, you know the story. But despite the false starts getting back onto the road, in a roundabout way the delayed gratification might have been the very best thing for the Ottawa-based pop-punk quintet and their passionate fans alike.
“I thought not being able to tour the record would be a death sentence, but it allowed people to sit with the album and connect to it in deeper ways,” says vocalist Dougie Cousins. “When we finally went and did our headline tour in 2022, crowds really knew the songs.”
In the end, Hello, It’s You solidified Bearings’ place as genre mainstays, elevating a tried-and-true pop-punk sound Alternative Press hailed as “dangerously catchy” that “could bring down a summer barbeque, if not a festival,” while their home and native land’s Exclaim! said Bearings had “entered the pop-punk big leagues.”
But as Cousins, guitarists Ryan Culligan and Ryan Fitz, bassist Collin Hanes and drummer Mike McKerracher began work on LP3 (their Pure Noise debut, Blue In The Dark, dropped in 2018) with producer Sam Guaiana (Silverstein, Between You & Me), they channeled their triumphant return to the stage in sweaty U.S. and Canadian clubs, opting for a more minimalistic approach to the songwriting process.
“We wanted to get back to making a record that wouldn’t need anything else to play live,” Cousins explains, noting the sonic toe-dips the band had taken on Hello, It’s You that found Bearings making waves into indie-pop grandeur and emo-trap textures. “There were some songs on the last record with synths and backing tracks, but this time we leaned into what we knew we would have the most fun playing live: two guitars, bass, drums and a vocal.”
Centering the most elemental, essential qualities of their musicianship without falling into the kid-in-a-candy-store trappings that bog down so many artists, Bearings’ third album for Pure Noise, THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING HUMAN, is the sort of record that begs to be played loudly, the sounds of sunny SoCal filtered through the lens of the Great White North.
It’s rock music, not rocket science, as the quintet rip through 10 tracks of dyed-in-the-wool charisma and ebullient melodicism. From the dual vocal-laden first single “Scenery” (with an Easter egg bass tribute to the blink-182 classic “Mutt”), grooving “Slip” and lyrical sass of “Don’t Wanna Forget About It” through the new-wave jitter of “Howie, You’re A Freak,” Oasis-esque swagger of “Live Forever,” and muscular “Heal,” the songwriting on THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING HUMAN is the most tightly honed of Bearings’ near-decade career, instantly nostalgic for sweaty summer festivals and finger-pointed singalongs while serving as a clear indication of where the pop-punk genre is headed.
Even the sole musical deviation here, “Ocean Dream,” which features a soaring sax solo courtesy of Saxl Rose, feels at home, a sonic sugar pill that goes down easy and is sure to be the highlight of the band’s live set in the future. “We definitely asked ourselves, ‘Are we allowed to have a sax?’” Cousins laughs. “We tried it a couple different ways, including as a guitar solo, but it was ultimately too good not to keep.”
In some ways, this might have been the only profound question Bearings asked themselves during the process, opting for feel over a philosophical approach. And while Cousins admits naming the album THE BEST PART ABOUT BEING HUMAN is sure to invite some questions about what Bearings know of life’s great mysteries, he and his bandmates prefer to answer with winking disinterest, head-bobbing groove and bounce-off-the-walls energy.
“We just wanted to make a fun record,” Cousins espouses. “Sometimes when an album is so thought out, it’s got to be as good as American Idiot or it comes off as trying too hard. I think we did new things without sending it into outer space. To me, this record sounds like how I felt when I was in grade 10 listening to blink-182: not too serious, just a good time and able to open up a little circle pit. I think we succeeded in writing songs we can play in a basement or in front of 2,000 people.” XX
Bearings have announced their third album The Best Part About Being Human, due for release.
Bearings have released new single ‘Scenery‘ which is out now via Pure Noise Re.
Bearings have announced the details of their upcoming new album ‘Hello, It’s You’, o.