Perhaps great albums are those not limited by a label or genre tag. Perhaps great albums are those able to deftly dance between many genres without stopping long enough in any given sonic location to be pigeonholed. Perhaps great albums are those that have risen above such lazy journalistic descriptions. By such measurements, Paranoia As A Way Of Life is a great album indeed.

As part of a re-issue of the now not-insignificant body of work that makes up the Mr Dog The Bear back catalogue, the latest album to reemerge into the light of day is the wonderfully named Paranoia As A Way Of Life. It is the perfect place to start if you are not already familiar with their work. Why? Because it is a brilliant showcase of the breadth of the sonic palette employed by the artist, the unlimited music vision that they are working towards and the genre-hopping nature of the music itself.

Stars leads us in perfectly, an ambient intro of chiming sonics and drifting sounds that opens out into an expansive explosion of sound before Monster takes things to a more anthemic degree. There are songs such as Portals where vocals are used as an instrument rather than a means of communication, well, not communication with the brain but certainly the soul. There are majestic post-rock pieces courtesy of Apophenia, Peace is a masterclass in understatement and atmosphere, and Echoes is the soundtrack to a dark drama not yet written for the big screen.

And then you get the title track, which seems to tie everything together, deftly stepping from lulling lows to soaring highs, simple sonic seductions and proggy ornateness, a song that ebbs and flows between muscle and melody, grace and grandeur.

Some people are put off by instrumental music, but those people are generally found watching tribute bands or in karaoke bars, so they shouldn’t concern us here. Perhaps Mr. Dog The Bear’s greatest skill is to be able to talk to us through the music, evoking moods and feelings where words simply wouldn’t cut it, creating a language that transcends language, using chords as letters, percussion as punctuation, rhythm as rhyme to build something not limited by anything as caged and confined as writing.

If you want me to back up such a claim, I will simply say this. Play Paranoia As A Way Of Life and tell me I’m wrong!

Release date for Paranoia AS A Way Of Life is 4th October with pre-orders for Vinyl currently being taken on the bandcamp page below.

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