Los Angeles, CA's Bemus are an interesting anomaly in the current world of today's edgy funk inflected rap and rock pairings. Rather than combine grating riffs with aggressive rhymes, this 5 piece instead prefer to draw from the melodic side of the spectrum, imbuing feel good song structures with emphatic vocals and traces of reggae, funk and jazz, much like a friendly and focused blend of Dial 7, The Urge and older Incubus.
Crooning melodically with a pointed focus, the songs are driven by a warm tuneful delivery that is both soulful and powerful, utilizing carefully placed inflections and lyrical breakdowns to slyly change the pace of the songs while also keeping the listeners interest level peaking. As such, the guitar playing is heavily atmospheric and melodic, employing everything from clean tones and spiraling effects to crisp distortion and some slide work to broaden the bands range while providing some rich tendrils of curious noise and straight forward crunchy riffs in the process. The animated bass playing included is perhaps the main protagonist of Bemus' music, anchoring the tracks with solid footing and plunging them forward with a poignant and often funk inspired pep that adds a wealth of energy and momentum to the material as a whole. The drumming on the other hand is a bit more restrained, sticking to solid beats organized in a firmly regimented pace, contrasting nicely with the animated bass playing while also founding a strong sense of stability throughout the tracks. Turntables and programming round out the groups assault and contribute a sparse, yet pleasing extra dimension of swirling noise and subtle nuances, drawing similarities, at least in ideals, to the work of DJ Kilmore of Incubus fame.
As a whole this demo is quite enjoyable and the producing touch of Jim Wirt is definitely noticeable, bringing out a clear representation of the band that compliments them well as they roll out sleek hooks and groove laden progressions that easily catch the ear. The songs go down smoothly and unquestionably possess a distinct commercial flair, yet still they manage to avoid feeling overtly glossy or shallow. Another strong point of the groups craft that deserves mention is that while most bands presently attempting such a combination as this usually borrow a bit too heavily from the works of the pioneers, Bemus instead only seem to draw a faint influence and stick to their guns, allowing them to establish an identity of their own. In the end, the music contained on this demo is well executed and perhaps the only real knock against them is that due to the style they play, it can somewhat feel a bit dated. By no means are they just another rap and rock clone, as there is little to no rap in their music at all, but after the wave of mid to late 90's bands that attempted to capitalize on the amalgamation of feel good funk tinged grooves and driving riffs, the music presented here isn't necessarily very ground breaking. Aside from this, the band retain few flaws and look to have a bright road ahead of them if they can find a label willing to take a chance on a style of music that hasn't been heard from much since the cliche barrage of new metal took over the reigns of power.
(3.5 / 5)