Since the release of their debut EPs Without/Within and Agape in 2013, Bear’s Den have been like our favorite teddy bears of indie music. The rawness and deepness of their folk-rock, the amount of musical honesty and heart felt lyrics they’ve built on every single song, and the huge sound they’ve put out on live shows, were all more than reliable reasons to conquer us from inside out. Still, the release of their debut album, the more-than-tender and beautiful Islands, managed to be a step even further, distinguishing them from the huge amount of bands trying to produce indie-folk based rock. The poignant potential of songs like Agape, Above the Clouds of Pompeii, When You Break or Elysium (and the album as a whole) conquered them a place on the deep favorite zone of alternative music, right across the street from Mumford and Sons and Bon Iver.
With two years gone by, the huge expectation for a second album could be counter-productive and hurt the band’s capability to deliver, even more after the news of the departure of guitarist Joey Haynes. It seems however, that all the worrying has been just a waste of time. Some weeks ago they released Auld Wives, a first introduction to what seems to be a progression on the way they sound. Not stepping away from the obvious folk roots, they have however seemed to evolve into a more matured sound, closer to 70’s and 80’s emblematic bands like Fleetwood Mac and The Eagles, or to contemporary artists like The National and Sufjan Stevens. If this idea was introduced by the first single of the forthcoming album, Red Earth & Pouring Rain, it was marvelously fulfilled a couple of days ago with the release of the second single of the album, entitled Gabriel. Brutally honest and absorbing from the first chord and the first word, this is one to keep very close to the heart, a powerful medicine to be heavily consumed by the ones who mourn and heel through music. The album is released in a week. Our hearts will be waiting for it.