Click to hear: “The Bear”
Pretty much everything I find missing on Spencer is available in spades on The Bear, a three-song EP of exceptional rock by Lovers of Fiction.
The Lovers are a project of University of Southern Maine professor Dan Sonenberg, an oddball composer of operas and chamber music who recruited a few protégées (including multi-instrumentalists Jimmy Dority, late of Foam Castles, and Sam Chandler, of Theodore Treehouse fame) to make this brilliant teaser. (A full album is said to be in the works.)
The title track practically bristles with good ideas, jumping from one unexpected section to the next. It’s bar rock, it’s opera, it’s prog, it’s Katie Gilchrest of the psych-blues band Arcane Lore stepping in to sing a few lines. It’s fantastic, funny and, frankly, amazing that Sonenberg packs all this into 2:13.
The grandiose second track, “Burn the Town,” actually sounds quite a bit like Albee’s material — jaunty verse into the kind of overblown chorus that could make Billy Joel blush. (Recording engineer Steve Drown of The Studio in Portland had a hand in both records, and may deserves some credit/blame for this.)
But then comes “Everyone at Target Drives a Honda,” a knotty, witty rocker about stalking an ex- that, like the title track, crams a remarkable amount of sonic goodies into less than two-and-a-half minutes. Dority gets to rip a great solo, the USM String Quartet provides backing vocals (but no strings!), and Sonenberg, pounding away at the drums, delivers great lines like, “Scrolled through your Facebook page / It didn’t solve my problem / That blue-eyed rocker boy is staring through his sideburns back at me.”
The Lovers’ LP can’t arrive fast enough for me.
— Chris Busby