Despite all evidence in New York, it is now officially spring, and a seven-piece band of animals hailing from Gainesville, Fla., has come out of hibernation. Bears & Lions, whose sophomore release, Navigate, is out Friday on Earache Records, is your inner child’s new favorite band. The group, which includes previous members of the early-2000s indie act For Squirrels, aims to teach valuable lessons through elaborate folkiness, incorporating acoustic guitars, trumpets, ukuleles and other musical oddities into their playfully creative songs.
Navigate, like its 2014 predecessor A Club in the Woods, is a narrative album; through each song we are told the story of these circus escapees undertaking a nautical expedition, sailing the seas to find their lost friend Jonas the Walrus. They are, of course, met with conflict, including pirates and a looming sea storm, yet their patience and problem-solving—which comes through playful lyrics—ultimately leads the way to Jonas and the rest of the animal kingdom, happily living together somehow in Saudi Arabia. Their performances are nothing short of theatrical; each member—Gorilla, Zebra, Giraffe, Moose, Bison, Bear and Lion, are all dressed the part.
“Bears and Lions is the culmination of years of playing music and realizing that it can be ridiculous, fun, immature, unpretentious, free from the cages of genres, while still being great,” the group said. Listen to the infectiously catchy “Hercules,” which recasts the Greek god into a girl strong enough to swim the seven seas, below. We promise it’s the most fun song you’ll hear today.