My introduction to the Florida-based duo Bears and Lions was at Kindiefest a couple years back, where a couple guys dressed up as, yes, a bear and a lion (in '70s era basketball uniforms, no less), strode up on stage and proceeded to play one of the more goofy sets of songs I'd heard in kids music. Jangly, southern-fried guitar-pop songs about jumping out of airplanes, man's best friend, and PAN! CAKE! SWEEP! STAKES! (Just listen to "Pancakes" all the way through, trust me.)
So a lot of my attitude regarding their 2014 debut, We're a Club in the Woods, is colored by the impressions their slightly anarchic set created. They mostly played uptempo songs during their abbreviated Kindiefest set, and the gleeful energy on tracks like "Pancakes," "Airplanes," and "Mediocre Kid" is every bit present here on the album. Slightly less energetic songs like "Jeremiah" don't stand out nearly as much. The album, when played live, is intended to be more a story, so the pogoing theme-song-like "Bears and Lions" makes more sense if you think of it as the song they play at the very end of the set after Bear and Lion have formed their own club in the woods. It's not a perfect album by any means, but nobody would consider it cookie-cutter kindie-pop.
The 36-minute album is most appropriate for kids ages 4 through 8. You can stream the album here. We're a Club in the Woods is a little odd, but in a good way, and well worth checking out. Definitely recommended.