Bear Bones - Rose Fever/Oil and Lacquer
Chris Tapley 15/01/2010
Bear Bones are a new band from Glasgow who craft songs out of quirky honest lyrics in the vein of anti-folk with slightly more grand arrangements after being filtered through the rich heritage of Glasgow twee. You can hear the influence of Bear Bones' collection of Belle and Sebastian and Postcard Records albums looming large over these songs. Far from being derivative imitations though they imbue the style with their own youthful exuberance, there are clear similarities but it's evidently a new generation.
Rose Fever is symptomatic of this, wistful acoustic guitars and lush strings combine with lyrics which are by turn melancholy and optimistic with some lovely turns of phrase such as “I changed like a Chinese whisper”. It's packed with sweet harmonics and twinkling piano which is further accentuated by the understated delivery of the chorus. The second track Oil and Lacquer incorporates a more traditional Scottish sound with fluctuating string arrangements, and some nice little chanted vocals with the odd morose lyric. Aside from that Ben Harrison's vocals have a wide eyed sincerity about them which is as often endearing as it is a bit irritating, there are some nice female backing vocals lending a bit of variety and which give the nagging feeling that, as cliché as it might be for this kind of thing, alternating vocals might have worked better here.
Bear Bones certainly aren't breaking new ground with their sound but it's perfectly executed and the bright tones help inject a lovely warmth in to these cold winter days. If the material on their forthcoming debut EP can match the standard set here then they could be in line to join the illustrious ranks of other sentimental hearts to have emerged from the city.