Release Date: Oct 21, 2014
Record label: Communion Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
When one of the first things you hear on an album is the unmistakeable twang of a banjo, is it wrong to assume that it’s bound to be a dreadful listen? A press release name-checking (touring buddies) Mumford and Sons doesn’t exactly help matters (for me at least, it might do wonders for you). Fortunately Bear’s Den pull it out of the back on Islands, delivering a wholly satisfying, multi-layered folk-pop record which exhibits considerable promise. For all the attempts to legitimise the band by association with Mumford, Laura Marling, The Vaccines et al, and their signing to Communion, every album deserves to stand or fall on the quality of its songwriting.
Mumford & Sons didn’t invent the yearning folk-rock anthem, but no one else has turned it into such an encompassing cottage industry. In addition to their own albums, the group has also yielded the “Gentlemen of the Road” touring component, the Communion label and the gaggle of bands that have followed in Mumford & Sons’ wake. Bear’s Den is a part of all three.