Susan Bear is a professional audio engineer, sound designer and multi-instrumentalist who has worked with various artists in the Glasgow area, including The Pastels, Tuff Love as well as a variety of theatre projects. She recently released her debut album Creature under the moniker Good Dog.
Creature is as varied as the scope of her music career. Her ability to play practically every instrument combined with her knowledge of sound design techniques is used in full effect. With it, she’s able to tug on deep and complex emotions while hooking the listener with her art pop sensibilities.
There’s a dreamy feeling to every song, as if a bed of aural memory foam ushers in the listener to Bear’s inner thoughts. In “Worm” layered vocals and fuzzy guitars accompany her as she details the pressures of navigating through adulthood. “March 28th” has vocal harmonies that glow and bend like rays of light. Illuminating the solemn acoustic piano that glides in like a romantic sonnet.
Also present are instrumentals that showcase Bear’s compositional chops. “Jury Duty” has acoustic and electronic instruments weave together along a droning drum machine rhythm, as if anxiously waiting for something to arrive. “Good Morning” makes use of video game chiptunes and hip hop beats. It feels like a pixelated dream, the kind of song that could get you in a state of flow. Most interesting of all is “Bumblebee”. Not unlike the classical piece of a similar name, we follow a buzzing melody line that develops through calm and unease as it visits flowers of different colors in search for nectar. Each of these tracks have perfectly crisp mixing, with sounds meticulously arranged and designed to get the right blend.
The title track follows a more conventional pop song structure, with the ethereal vocals and fuzzed out guitars. It illustrates a hazy picture with smudged pastel colors and packs a huge punch of emotion. It is then followed by lead single “Floating”. A jangly and aqueous jam where Bear redeems herself from loneliness: “After you left I wandered free / disconnected from everything / now I’m well enough to know / I don’t want to float through life on my own.”
Creature is described by Bear as “kind of a diary of my 20s”. Within its 15 tracks we get to see a journey of growth and discovery, as well as some bumps and bruises along the way. This album is an impressive feat, as not many artists can glue their ideas and emotions effectively into music just by themselves. As Bear plans to collaborate with more people in the future, who knows what greater heights she can accomplish.
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