Updated: May 4
U.K. based duo Bear's Den have returned with their latest effort Blue Hours. This release represents the fourth studio record for twosome Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones. On making the record, Davie said in a press statement: “While making the record we wanted to get across a kind of simmering intensity with the song and the idea of someone trying to keep their shit together while wrestling with these darker thoughts and feelings...We wanted to get across a sense of bravery and triumph in saying, ‘sometimes I can’t pull myself out’ of these difficult situations. To celebrate the difficult moments because we all have them. They are a universally shared experience even if it feels sometimes like they’re not and you’re the only one who feels them." Davie noted that mental health challenges that both he and Jones had experienced in recent years were brought in thematically on the record. However, Davie did note that the album is a hopeful one too.
Davie is dead accurate on how the album comes across. The album is deeply entrenched in emotional themes of mental health issues and reflection, but it comes in a package that isn't dour. It's a rare feat to do well, but Davie and Jones pull it off and stick the landing. I've always said it's easy to write a sad song that sounds sad. It takes a lot of effort to write a truly sad song that sounds hopeful or happy.
The band reaches an absolutely touching crescendo on the chorus of "Gratitude". The track is one I can easily see myself singing along to on a late-night drive with the windows down. If you're looking for some truly personal music that is going to hit you in the core, look no further. Bear's Den unrelentingly bring it on Blue Hours. The veteran band who has sold over 500,000 records since 2012 will certainly increase that figure with this one. However, Blue Hours represents something much more than that, it's some of the best music we've heard come out in a while. It will certainly be on Album of the Year lists for those in the know.
Rating - 5/5
P.S. the band is embarking on an extensive tour, check them out when they are in your area! See the dates below:
BEAR’S DEN LIVE
May 17—Bristol, UK—O2 Academy May 18—London, UK— Eventim Apollo May 21—Dublin, IE—Olympia May 22—Manchester, EN—Albert Hall May 23—Glasgow, UK—O2 Academy May 25—Newcastle, EN—Newcastle University May 26—Birmingham, EN—O2 Institute May 27—Leeds, EN—Leeds University Stylus September 8—Dallas, TX—The Studio at The Factory September 9—Austin, TX—Emo’s September 11—Nashville, TN—The Basement East September 12—Atlanta, GA—Variety Playhouse September 14—Ardmore, PA—Ardmore Music Hall September 15—New York, NY—Webster Hall September 16—Washington, DC—9:30 Club September 17—Boston, MA—Royale September 20—Toronto, ON—Danforth Music Hall September 21—Chicago, IL—Thalia Hall September 23—Minneapolis, MN—Varsity Theater September 24—Iowa City, IA—The Englert Theatre September 25—Kansas City, MO—Knuckleheads Saloon September 27—Denver, CO—Bluebird Theater September 28—Salt Lake City, UT—The CommonWealth Room September 30—Seattle, WA—Neptune Theatre October 1—Vancouver, BC—Vogue Theatre October 3—Portland, OR—Revolution Hall October 5—Felton, CA—Felton Music Hall October 6—San Francisco, CA—August Hall October 8—West Hollywood, CA—Troubadour