Thursday, June 10, 2010

Album Of The Week - Boy & Bear - With Emperor Antartica

God there are some good things coming out of this pretty little land of ours…

One of which is harmony-drenched indie folk band - Boy & Bear.  Hailing from Sydney this talented young five-piece have already supported a number of huge acts including the likes of Angus & Julia Stone and Laura Marling. Currently touring to promote the release of their debut EP White Emperor Antarctica the lads have also secured a spot at Splendour In The Grass, and this is just the beginning. This little EP has been selected for our Album Of The Week.

For a while there, it seemed as though Folk music had become outdated, the taboo section of our parent’s music collection. I had always perceived it as stale, until acts such as Mumford and Sons, Grizzly Bear and Fleet Foxes came along. This genre has now been rewritten, redesigned with a contemporary edge, labelled Indie Folk or New Folk and has recaptured the hearts of mainstream.

The first release and first taste we got of this little gem was Mexican Mavis which also featured on their pre-EP release. Swept up by JJJ back in 09, it was this track that granted the quintet the right to play at Sydney’s famous Homebake. Meticulously building upon each element, Mexican evolves into a harmoniously colourful number that was a perfect first release for Boy and Bear to begin building their legions of fans.  

The opening track of the bands EP, Blood and Gold is warm with measured melody and a country vibe. Recorded in 301 studios in Byron Bay over 10 days with producer Rick Will, influences such as Fleet Foxes, The Shins and The Middle East are more than evident.  This brief five-track collection introduces us to lyrical narratives that are simple yet clever.

From a blissfully timid opening, The Storm builds into a balanced equation of acoustic and electric instruments. Lead singer, Dave Hosking’s vocal ability is stunning and is only amplified by the beautiful melodies and vocals of the rest of the band. The two final songs have taken us back to the slower and softer side of Boy and Bear.

The Final track, The Rain, is rawer and more acoustic than its four predecessors though the layers are still evident.  Broken down, simplified and then re-constructed, The Rain beautifully ties up our first taste of Boy and Bear.  

With Emperor Antarctica is warm, comforting and honest. The group's outstanding vocals convey their passion for the art. The album is compelling yet lacking in musical range. Perhaps if there were more than five tracks that criticism would be laid to rest? Overall I loved this album and cannot wait to see them live, apparently their acoustic sets are amazing.


Last chance for Sydney-siders to catch Boy and Bear is this Saturday (12th) at the Annandale or 13th at the Come Together Festival, Luna Park. If you cant along to either of these then make sure you catch them at Splendour. Go and fall in love with Boy and Bear.


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