Bear's Den - Without/Within EP (Review)
Review by Jack Foley
BEAR’S Den have been growing in stature ever since the release of their impressive Agaoe EP earlier this year.
But they come of age in take-notice fashion with the release of its follow-up, the epic and beautiful Without/Within. The six songs here are marked by the walls of vocal harmonies and rich instrumentation that makes just about every track stand out in some way.
If you’re open to comparisons (and favourable ones) then there’s a quality here that’s reminiscent of more established acts like Snow Patrol (vocally, especially) or Mumford & Sons (at times).
Opening track Sahara is split into two, the first (brief) chapter unfolding amid gentle, sparse vocals before growing in confidence during the sweeping Part II. With lyrics like “all my life, I wasn’t honest enough”, there is also an emotional clout to their music. But we also rated the way they combined heavy atmosphere with an all-expansive sound that’s empowering.
Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away is a similarly brooding, layered effort that is marked by a striking central banjo lick and emotive lyricism (“you mistook my love for desire and you set my demons free”). If anything, it’s a Mumford & Sons moment… although Bear’s Den clearly have their own identity and sense of style.
While Writing On The Wall conjures some rousing melodies out of its articulate lyricism, adopting a more immediately radio friendly sound that’s upbeat and toe-tapping.
Sophie drips with beauty (and another striking banjo arrangement), while My Lair ends things in dramatic fashion with another slow-building, thoughtful and intricately layered offering.
On this form, we can’t wait to hear a full album. Bear’s Den look destined for big things.
Downoad picks: Sahara Pt II, Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away, Sophie