Bear's Den "Red Earth & Pouring Rain"

Among the wave of indie-folk artists who have emerged from the U.K. in the past five years is Bear’s Den. The trio won easy comparison to Mumford and Sons, a band they often toured with and called friends. Islands, their debut album, featured lovely layered melodies, and earnest lyrics graced by multitudes of stringed instruments.

Following the departure of founding member Joey Haynes earlier this year, fellow founder Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones regrouped as a duo but tour and record as a six-piece. Bear’s Den’s second release builds on the band’s folk foundation, but with the additional musicians at hand, the pair has expanded their musical horizon. Red Earth & Pouring Rain features synthesized production and a noticeable dose of 80’s pop sensibilities.

The band recorded in Wales with Producer Ian Grimble, who also produced the band’s first album. Grimble is an able producer for sensitive souls having brought out the emotional work of Travis, The Beautiful South, and Manic Street Preachers. He is also a co-founder, along with Kevin Jones and Ben Lovett of Mumford and Sons, of Communion Music, an artist cooperative, which includes Bear’s Den’s label.

Red Earth & Pouring Rain is a hypnotic meandering through hazy guitar riffs and streams of synthesized melodies. Occasionally an acoustic instrument asserts itself above the intermingling electronics. The tone is one of yearning, sung in sincere mellow strains. The underlying theme is the need to be heard and understood, a constant struggle for communication.

Rosemary Welsch (The Afternoon Mix)