Eliza And The Bear - Eliza And The Bear

by Sophie Anderson

With their upbeat indie vibe, Eliza And The Bear have continued to tease the public with the release of some brilliantly catchy tunes, which led to the release of their self-titled 15 track debut album.

Eliza And The Bear is a rather unexpected name which draws anyone in straight away; who is Eliza and why is there a bear? Truth is, there isn’t a bear or anyone named Eliza, but there is an exciting array of upbeat indie tracks to indulge in. The recent release of their self-titled debut album is oozing with 15 festival style anthems. Their big sounds with pop hooks have really made their music so easy on the ear and uplifting on the mood, one of many reasons as to why they have grown in popularity at such a rapid rate. After I managed to get tickets to see them at the joiners in Southampton earlier this year, I’ve been so excited to hear what the album is going to sound like and it definitely lived up to the high expectations I had after seeing them perform live.

The opening track choice Friends really does incorporate all the musical intricacies that I associate with the band. The orchestral introduction and build up gives this track a ballad feel making it a perfect grand opening for the album. Throughout the track, the orchestral additions (mainly trumpet) continue to make an appearance by accompanying the rhythmic drumming, piano and the enticing guitar riffs making this opening anthem very catchy indeed. This theme runs through many of the tracks on the album including Light It Up, It Gets cold, Lion’s heart and Talk.

In a recent interview, the band stated that when writing their material, they have a live venue in mind, which really shows through in their style. The speedy rhythms and layering of instruments with big vocals really gets the crowd on their feet, even if you aren’t hugely familiar with their music. Moving on from the beginning of the album, track five - Cruel - has a very different style indeed. The stripped back production and raw vocals deliver a much more emotional listening experience. The pace of the track is slowed down and vocalist James really showcases his vocal range with his use of falsetto. Looking holistically at this track it continues to crescendo from start to finish. At the start, the use of simple piano chords and very faint drums allows the vocals to take to the fore. At around one minute the track begins to build with the addition of guitar; shortly after this an echoing and rather atmospheric guitar interval is added. When the vocals are reached again this allows another building of instruments and gets back to the big sound and anthem style that Eliza And The Bear are known for. The focus on vocals here is showcased again around two thirds into the track where instrumentation almost completely fades out and the emotional lyrics are belted out with passion quite acoustically. Then, of course, the track picks up again and ends on the typical festival ballad style that we know and love.

Another song with a quite different style to their previous releases before this album is track eight Oxygen; it has a much more serious tone. Even though it still incorporates the ballad style, it is much less cheery than its predecessors Friends and Light it up. The use of slightly more grunge guitar is the component of this track that gives it a slightly more bitter and serious feel along with the punchy, fierce and almost sassy lyrics. The deluxe version includes four more tracks which I think are a great addition to the original album. A personal favourite is Thief. I noticed a reference to Oxygen within this song which, direct or not, was quite cool and noticing links between songs allows stories to be told through the music.

It’s been very hard to find anything wrong with this album after some quite intense listening over the past week or two. I think the only thing I would say is that many of the songs sound quite similar which could become slightly monotonous over time but if you enjoy their style of music as much as me then I’m sure that won’t be a problem. Overall, this album was definitely worth waiting for and the new tracks that hadn’t been pre-released are definitely living up to the high standard Eliza And The Bear have been putting out for a few years now. It makes for easy listening and will definitely lighten your mood if you have been feeling glum.  I also recommend trying to get tickets to see them live if you haven’t already. In a recent interview they stated that Exeter was in fact the craziest city they have played so far as everyone was just so pumped and excited for it. The atmosphere at their live shows really is worth experiencing.