New Music: Bear's Den
by Meg Fatharly
Photo by Sequoia Ziff
Bear’s Den have been very busy over the last couple of months. A podcast, a huge tour and a new album to boot, this is a very exciting time indeed in the lead up to their new album So that you might hear me, which is to be released on the 26th of April. As a long-time admirer of their music, the two songs from the album they’ve already released so far (‘Fuel on the Fire’ and ‘Blankets of Sorrow’) have been playing on repeat, especially welcome in times when I’ve felt anxious or striding through busy crowds of London, and have been listening to music as a way to shut off from the world. There is something about Bear’s Den’s music that is at once soothing and stimulating, both caustic and healing. These new tracks are no different.
As well as a new album, fans will be treated to a UK and European tour which will see them sharing their new music. With many shows across the country already sold out because of the anticipation of this new release, the band have also shared a podcast where they break down and discuss each song, reflecting and ruminating on the lyrics, the meaning and the process of making the entire album. The podcast episodes dive deep into the band’s complex creative processes; for example, the episode focusing on ‘Fuel on the Fire’ offers a unique understanding of the haunting echo at the start of the song. The main, reoccurring synth sampled in the track is similar to that of a submarine call. Multi-instrumentalist Kevin Jones calls this the “loneliest sound I can possibly imagine.” This lonely echo resonates with similar themes to across their songs, searching for connection and missing someone or something. Isolation is a common refrain in their lyrics: whether this is a personal journey or that of something more, perhaps reaching something that is no longer present or even tangible. Through the lyrics and physicality of a song, these complex and confronting themes are made possible once more and shared to an audience.
"This album is an attempt to reveal the honest and difficult challenge of communicating with anyone that you really care about.”
The inspiration from the album came in part from the late Chilean poet Pablo Neruda’s work; ‘So That You Will Hear Me’ is a poem that stuck with lead singer and lyricist Andrew Davie. Davie reflects: “To me, it’s about trying to communicate with someone and feeling like you can’t reach them anymore. That deeply resonated with me. Unwittingly, it became a theme of the album.” Evolving in a natural and organic fashion, Davie explains that their songs “incorporate all sorts of sounds, but not in a pre-ordained way. We just try to go where each song suggests.”
Davie discusses the intimate and exposing process of song writing: “In the past, I’ve always tried to understand what I’m writing about,” says Andrew. “This time, lyrics came from a more subconscious place. Like they were things I needed to say and I worked back from there. I was inspired by Neruda, who wrote as though he was trying to figure out his own feelings as much as explain them to anyone else. The aim was to be more honest and instinctive, like when you blurt something out and can’t take it back, so you have to deal with it.”
Their lyrics have always been able to capture the profound tension between moments slipping by or in between situations. The lyrics pull listeners in to ultimately pull them apart again, as they find their own personal connections with it. With new releases like ‘Blankets of Sorrow’ there is a weightiness to their intricate lyrics, which invokes themes of nature to convey intense emotional moments. Nature is a recurrent motif in the band’s lyrics, deployed poetically and with nuance to add layers of history, mystery and temporality to their music.
So far, three songs have been released and they differ from previous releases with an introduction of more techno vibes which work in harmonium with the vocals of the band. This is woven in with the warmth of their voices. The album started out with the intention, Davie says, to try to “communicate with someone honestly. Our thoughts are not all rational, not all considered or tied up with ribbons and bows. This album is an attempt to reveal the honest and difficult challenge of communicating with anyone that you really care about.”
Meg is an artist based near London having lived and studied in Cornwall for 4 years. She is a drawing, collage and writer lady who loves being outside.
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