by Sara Donnellan
Gummi Bear is the fourth single release from LA-based musical duo, Valley Boy. The song is more straight-ahead Indie rock than the group’s previous work (January’s Sad Girl veered into Frank Ocean territory at times) and despite the title, it’s delightfully earnest. A nice surprise from a group whose Spotify bio simply reads, “sucks.”
The song begins with something familiar, a spoken count in, but everything after that defies expectations as it sets them. In an otherwise stripped-down first verse, the drums come back in halfway through only to drop out again. Gummi Bear also has two distinct pre-choruses, the first one catchy enough to make you replay the song just to hear it again. It’s tricks like these that prove Valley Boy understands the short-attention-span generation they’re singing to, utilizing variation in a way that never feels forced or gimmicky.
Vocalist James Alan Ghaleb grabs you from the first note with his emotive phrasing and stylistic vocal fry. The cutesy choral refrain, “am I just one little gummi bear?”, works only because of other more vulnerable lyrical moments (“I let my mom and absent dad make all the rules''). Maybe it’s the lush vocal arrangement or the anthemic melody, but Ghaleb could really be singing about anything and we’d eat it up like candy.