Boy & Bear

    My question is, how have I not heard of these guys?  Here I have spent most of my adult life crawling through the musical underworld. I’ve heard of a lot of the bands who come across my path.  Most of them I have not listened to extensively until they appear in my gmail, but I’ve heard their names at least.  Enough to say, “yeah, that’s a (insert genre here) band.”  I had never heard of Boy & Bear before.  This is amazing to me for a few reasons.  1. They’re really good. 2. They’re gaining success and popularity pretty quickly.   3. They have won a bunch of ARIA awards in Australia, including Best Group and Album of the Year.  You’ve probably all even heard of them and I’m sitting here in the dark.  Anyway–for those of you who are in the dark like me, here’s a write up of their latest album which, I guess, is topping charts.  People in Australia must have pretty decent taste in music.

 

    The title track of “Harlequin Dream” is a cool sounding song, it carries a touch of bluesyness while keeping a nice mellow rock and roll feel. I like the electronic noises, as well as the trumpet that chimes in at the end.  I like the way that the music progresses, not becoming more aggressive, but more complicated.  There is more blues influence, it feels more surreal and sexy, or like being underwater and looking up–feeling so aware of your position, yourself.


“Bridges” is great dishwashing music.  For those of you who own an actual dishwasher, you cannot begin to comprehend the importance of good dishwashing music.  Dishwashing music must be good enough to keep your mind off of the task at hand, but not wild enough to take you to a universe where you’re dancing all over the place.  Dishwashing music must be introspective so as to inspire thought and appreciation and emotion, without inspiring too much wanderlust or the dishes would never be done. “Bridges” produces the perfect amount of foot tapping, gentle swaying, and dreaming of a beautiful future.

   

“A Moment’s Grace” is warm, soft, and colorful. “You realize in a moment’s grace, you’ve been unraveling the fabric of your coat.”  It’s a little retrospective, and a lot hopeful. It’s a song about taking charge of your life and making it into something beautiful.  I love the watery, raindrop sounds and the genuineness of the vocals.  “I am not gonna die this way.”

 

If you’re looking for a song that doesn’t qualify as top knotch dishwashing music–”End of the Line” is it.  Oh my wanderlust is aching.  The sound is completely different from the rest of the album.  It’s a little bluegrass. Quick guitar, a little banjo in there, fiddle. The lyrics are all about travelling, going to the country, sweet air, freedom, clear minds, happy travelling feet.  Some thumping hand drums make their pleasant, organic appearance with some more wonderful electric sounds. “Somewhere amongst this mess, I may have found some happiness to call my own. Oh, time is a healer. Time is a friend of mine.”  

 

“Old man was it worth it? Was it all that it seems? Did you ever find the carcass of your dreams?”  “Stranger” delivers a melancholy reflection in earthy shades of blue and yellow.  The lyrics are not gentle, but the music is.  I love imagery conjured in my brain and the goosebumps caused by the mournful/hopeful electric guitar.  There’s a little touch of aggressive rock and roll in there which I love.  It adds the perfect touch to the nature of this song.

 

The album wraps up with a beautiful, hopeful note.  Organ-ish sounds, walk-in-the-meadow beats. “Arrow Flight” makes me think of camping in a meadow full of flowers and sunshine–but a real one with spiders and pricker bushes, not a perfect cartoon one.  It’s a wonderful place.  The lyrics are taking me on a pleasant journey where I cannot wait to get home and I will be there soon.  “I’m feeling that things are gonna be alright, my friend. I just wanna go home.”  

I am so thankful that Boy and Bear has come my way and I have been able to take part in their music.  I really truly love this album and think you should too.  I am over the moon that they are touring internationally this summer and coming to my very own House of Blues in Cleveland (score one for me–no one comes to Cleveland).  If you like a good mix of electric and organic, hopeful and introspective–check out Boy and Bear.  There’s a good reason why Australia loves them.  Go check them out.

p.s. Can we talk about that album art? I love the man vs. beast thing.  This will be up on the Instagram later this week.

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