by Shona Hickey
In the 5 years since Bear’s Den formed they have shown an incredible artistic progression. Their first EPs in 2013 showed great promise for a new sound on the indie music scene. While the folk style has been replicated by many current artists, Bear’s Den have a distinct authenticity in their sound. The banjos and folky vocals are not simply indie gimmicks but help create both soothing and powerful tracks in turn. Most of the EP songs made their way onto their 2014 album Islands. This album received both critical and public praise: it held a place in the UK charts for 10 weeks and their song Above The Clouds Of Pompeii was nominated for the Ivor Novello award. The band could have just done more of the same for their most recent album. However, Red Earth & Pouring Rain experiments with layering soulful lyrics with electric guitars, synths and percussion. While the album received mixed reviews, I think the tracks retain the authenticity and originality of their earlier work.
Bear’s Den have travelled a long way from their cross-America tour in VW campervans with Ben Howard, Nathaniel Rateliff and The Staves. Their 2017 tour features 22 shows in 8 countries across Europe, and luckily Exeter’s Lemon Grove is on the list. The band are skillful performers, never ceasing to create a connection with their audience. Their live shows are always something to look forward to and it will be particularly exciting to see their new music performed.