Ghost Robot Ninja Bear – self-titled EP

Ghost Robot Ninja Bear - 2010 Singles EP coverIt’s been irritating me for weeks: just who does Ghost Robot Ninja Bear vocalist Oscar Albis Rodriguez remind me of? So far I’ve only been able to prod my finger towards the vocal stylings of Propagandhi and No Use For A Name, and neither comparison holds much water. Goddamnit, who is it I’m thinking of?

Well, whatever. Whoever it is I am trying and failing to remember, it doesn’t change the fact that Ghost Robot Ninja Bear play cool, fast-paced, jagged yet melodic ‘post-hardcore’. To be honest I’d be more comfortable describing this as ‘post-punk’ but thanks to the 1980s and the arty offshoots of punk rock that’s not possible. Thanks a bunch, 1980s.

Anyway, one small shred of truth in the above (inaccurate) comparisons is that Ghost Robot Ninja Bear are rocking a fairly 90s sound that’s very akin to the best of the melodic punk/hardcore of the era, but with musicianship that’s more accomplished and songwriting that isn’t entirely constrained by the genre. For example, 4th track ‘Carousel’ has some inexplicable death metal vocals thrown in before a spot of moody guitar picking. The vocals work but their inclusion is a bit odd. But so what? It works, and that’s all you need.¬†Opener ‘One Pedal to Another’ is built around some cool tremolo guitar and slower melodic verses with faintly haunting lead, whereas ‘Blood the Tango’ and ‘Staring at the Clocks’ deploy rhythms that segue easily between stop-start and thumping, holding them together with some quality vocal lines.

Small Brown Bike are another band who seem to be mentioned quite a bit in reference to GRNB and I can see the similarities; sonically the two bands aren’t much alike but they’re both ploughing interesting furrows along the turf of melodic punk rock. Polar Bear Club aren’t a million miles away either, although GRNB are not quite so saccharine or po-faced (and I write that as a big fan of Polar Bear Club).

This 4-track EP is a collection of the two singles and accompanying b-sides released earlier this year, so if you’ve already got those then this is strictly for completists. However, if you missed them then do give this a try as the chops and unique personality on display really do demand it.

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  2. […] Just wanted to share a recent review of the GRNB EP, since the artwork is featured so prominently on the page (aka shameless self-promotion). You can check it out at Nostalgia for Infinity! […]