The Adventures – Lions and Tigers and Bears 25 Years Later

The Adventures – Lions and Tigers and Bears 25 Years Later

Many music critics love to dismiss bands as one-hit wonders just because respective songs of these artists placed very high on a popular music chart, letting these singles overshadow entire outputs and, in the process, clouding not only their own sense of objective assessment but also that of readers and listeners. Well, little they do know that their ridicule actually boomerangs back to them. Because more often than not, the bands that they are dissing are much more productive than how they are projecting them to be. Their lack of research or tendency to derogate betrays their willful ignorance and intellectual dishonesty.

For instance, the list of ’80s-peaking bands that have become victims of those one-track minds and only-hits listeners include A Flock of Seagulls (“I Ran [So Far Away]”), a-ha (“Take on Me”), Modern English (“I Melt with You”), ABC (“Vanity Kills”), and The Adventures (“Two Rivers”), all of which have actually released not only one but a number of albums and a string of memorable songs that went beyond the decade of their formation. In fact, many of them to this day remain active, touring and making new music.

Here, the focus is on The Adventures, in commemoration of the Northern Irish band’s final album, Lions and Tigers and Bears, which recently turned 25 years old.

Formed in 1984, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, The Adventures soared the New Wave skies especially during the pinnacle of the genre in the mid- to the late ’80s via songs like “Send My Heart,” “Broken Land,” and “Drowning in the Sea of Love.” They managed to release four studio albums—1985’s Theodore and Friends, 1988’s The Sea of Love, 1990’s Trading Secrets with the Moon, and the aforementioned 1993 album Lions and Tigers and Bears. They soldiered on through the ensuing decade amid the ever-shifting musical landscape, securing further hits such as “Your Greatest Shade of Blue” and “Bright New Morning.”

So, now, in remembrance of this beloved purveyor of ’80s and ’90s New Wave music, play their final album one more time, in congruence with its silver anniversary.

Released in March 1993, on Polydor Records, Lions and Tigers and Bears opened with a sweet, sparse, and sophisticated rendition of The Mamas and Papas’ “Monday Monday.” Following in the same heartbeat was the elegant mid-tempo “Marianne,” which bore the band’s trademark jangly guitar plucks and male-female vocal interplay. Shifting the mood to a notch higher, The Adventures then delivered one of the album’s highlights – the upbeat, infectious, and melody-washed “Raining All Over the World.” Then, with the ensuing punchy stomper “Come the Day,” the vibes turned a bit eerie and imposing without foregoing the same propensity for melodies. The Adventures then turned to New Romantic mode, as the Sophistipop track “I Don’t Want to Play This Game” played next, pulling tears of nostalgia from the starry-eyed initiated listener.

Another album favorite that connected Lions and Tigers and Bears seamlessly with its predecessors came in the form of the shimmering New Wave ballad “The Only World I Know.” Returning the listener to Pop Rock mode then followed in succession – the subtly Gothic “This Crazy Heat,” which might have faintly recalled The Mission (“Garden of Delight”) and Love & Rockets (“So Alive”); and the engaging, dancefloor-worthy, four-on-the-floor “Impossible You.”

The rockin’ “I Really Don’t Mind” was a bit bluesy, featuring crunchy, angular guitars and Rock-n-Roll-inspired, cracking vocal styling. “Here It Comes Again” was another distinctive The Adventures tune – subtle synth drones, bright guitar plucks, pulsating basslines and drumbeats, and velvety voice. Near the end of it, The Adventures unleashed the album’s carrier song – the sonically saccharine and sunny yet lyrically pensive “Too Late for Heaven.”

The penultimate track, “Say I’m Sorry,” slowed down the tempo and relaxed the atmosphere appropriately; and then, finally, The Adventures—Terry Sharpe (lead vocals), Pat Gribben (guitar), Eileen Gribben (vocals), Gerry Murphy (guitar, percussion, vocals), Tony Ayre (bass), Paul Crowder (drums), and Jonathan Whitehead (keyboards)—ultimately bid farewell to the world as they dish out their swan song, “Perfect Day” – inspired, jangly, shiny, and jazzy – ending their musical adventures together in a rather happy and graceful note.

Yes, soon after their last effort, The Adventures decided to call their decade-long adventure a day. Nonetheless, that was not a reason to bury the band’s gems in oblivion. These remain important contributions to the so-called New Wave music archives.

So, after giving Lions and Tigers and Bears a spin, proceed to the rest of the discography of the much-missed The Adventures. After all, what are fans and friends for? Right, Theodore?

Purchase Lions and Tigers and Bears:

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aLfie vera mella
aLfie vera mella
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Born in 1971, in Metro Manila, Philippines, aLfie vera mella is a healthcare worker, singer/songwriter, and editor/writer. He was the frontman of the ’90s-peaking Philippine Alternative Rock / New Wave band Half Life Half Death, which released a full-length album and several singles on Viva Records. aLfie worked at Diwa Scholastic Press as an editor/writer of academic textbooks and supplementary magazines, focusing on Science & Technology and English Grammar & Literature. In 2003, aLfie migrated to Canada; he has since been living in Winnipeg, Manitoba. He works full-time at a healthcare institution, while serving as the associate contributing editor of Filipino Journal—a local community newspaper in Winnipeg—tackling Literature, Languages, Cultures, Lifestyles, and Music. As a means to further his passion for music, he formed the band haLf man haLf eLf. He now performs with another band, The Psychedelics. aLfie has been a music journalist since the mid-’90s for various print magazines as well as websites. He began writing album reviews for CrypticRock in 2015. In 2016, aLfie published Part One (Literature & Languages and Their Cultural Significance) of his Essay Series, Can You Hear the Sound of a Falling Leaf? His next planned literary endeavor is to publish the remaining parts of the anthology and his works on Poetry, Fantasy Fiction, and Mythology. In his spare time, he enjoys reading books and listening to music. He participates at various community events; and he explores the diverse cultural beauty of Canada whenever his schedule permits it. aLfie is a doting and dedicated father to his now ten-year-old son, Evawwen.

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