• Luke Burywood

#1 Review: China Bears - Im Not Eating Like I Used to.

‘I’m Not Eating Like I Used To’ hits a sensitive note with the listener. A soft, yet dramatic instalment.

Somerset formed China Bears are a 4-piece indie band made up of twin brothers Ivan and Frazer, completed by fellow University pals James and Dean. Sporting heavy moustaches and badly bleached hair, the electric 4 piece have been on the rise for the last few years. ‘I’m Not Eating Like I Used To’ is their brand new single, released on April 3rd and taken from their forthcoming second EP ‘Statue Still’. A somewhat bittersweet time for the for the Bears as they were unfortunately one of the casualties of the cancellation of SXSW. However with this latest release I’m sure they’ll have something to smile about.

‘I’m Not Eating Like I Used To’ hits a sensitive note with the listener. A soft, yet dramatic instalment.

China Bears are a band firmly placed in the ‘indie rock’ scene, however they take a more introspective approach to song writing to their peers. In our Interview with Ivan, he told us how much of an impact the fantastic album ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ by Frightened Rabbit had on the band. The influence from Frightened Rabbit is especially evident lyrically. Rather than a tale wound in metaphors to be de-constructed, China Bears opt for a much more direct approach as guitarist Frazer explains:

“I think it's a song about worrying too much about how people perceive you and trying to avoid looking like you're struggling when in reality everyone is just going through the motions and trying to do the best they can. So the chorus line in particular - 'And the way that she looked at me, I've never seen her look like that before' - was about my mum crying when Ivan and I left for university, so It was like seeing her just as a human being I suppose and not just as my mum. It's about going through change, pretending you're coping and then realising you have people to help you cope so you don't need to be inside your head so much.”

The track begins with a roomy drum build up before dropping into a swell of post rock/shoegaze-esque vibes. The intense shoegaze overtones drop out in typical China Bears fashion to make room for Ivan’s personal, melancholic vocals. A theme carried out throughout the rest of the song.

Production wise, I like the direction the Bears have taken. A lot of bands in a similar vein to them often take the approach of the gnarliest kick and snare/whichever master is loudest is the winner, often at the detriment of a good tune. It’s refreshing to see a band care less about having a huge drum sound and focus on what the purpose/message of the song is. I’d love to see this band experiment with some more ambient approaches as opposed to focusing on guitar driven post-rock.

‘I’m Not Eating Like I Used To’ hits a sensitive note with the listener. A soft yet dramatic instalment. Such is thoughtful life with China Bears, a band which writes songs which can be painfully intimate, but enormously approachable; a band  which creates stadium-sized melodies but aren’t averse to ending their set with an a capella tune in the middle of the hushed audience; a band which fundamentally proffers proper music for proper music lovers.


Friday 28 August | Heartbreakers, Southampton

Thursday 10 September | The Sebright Arms, London

Thursday 17 September | Hope & Ruin, Brighton

Check out interview with the lads here!


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