While Matthew Tybor insists the naming of The Bunny The Bear was a random act of spontaneity, there’s an old joke about a bear and a bunny that may have burrowed into Tybor’s subconscious. (Reader’s Digest version: Bear asks bunny if he has trouble getting shit out of his fur. Bunny says “Not at all.” Bear replies, “That’s good,” and wipes his ass with bunny.)
In that case, there may be some Freudian reasoning behind Tybor adopting the bunny persona, and in assigning The Bunny the gutteral Screamo vocals, while making The Bear (a role occupied by a few different musicians) the clean singer. Or maybe it was just a random act of spontaneity.
In either event, The Bunny The Bear has plied its progressive Post Hardcore/Synthcore/Indiecore trade for the past seven years to a rabidly loyal and consistently expanding fan base. After self-releasing its eponymous debut album in 2010, the band signed with the renowned Chicago multi-core label Victory Records.
Since then the group has turned out an album per year (2011’s If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say …, 2012’s Stomach for It, 2013’s Stories, last year’s Food Chain), all hitting the Top 40 of Billboard’s Heatseekers chart (Food Chain placed highest at No. 15).
The Bunny The Bear has seen a fairly constant rotation of members, with almost two dozen personnel changes since its 2008 formation. There have been three Bears along the way; original Bear Chris Hutka, who departed in 2012 and returned in 2013, and Chris Paterson and Joseph Garcia, who tagged in during Hutka’s sabbatical. Papa, mama and baby? More random subtext, presumably.
And if disturbing video imagery is your cup of razor-sliced eyeballs (more Buñuel, anyone?), you can’t do much better than The Bunny The Bear. The frozen, not-quite-dead girl and her creepy reanimator in “First Met You” and their Grand Guignol puppet/live action oppositional interpretation of Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree with “In Like Flynn” are particularly horrifying/cool.
Read between the lines or take it at face value, The Bunny The Bear will move you in strange and visceral ways.THE BUNNY THE BEAR plays at Southgate House Revival Thursday, Feb. 26. Find tickets/more info here .