Bearcraft - Yestreen (Hottwerk)

Not 40 seconds in to opener 'Hero Man Gets To The Castle' and comparisons to the likes of Ant & Dec's number about the art of rumbling and the theme tune to The IT Crowd are already bang in there. Dare we enter within the castle after this we ask ourselves?

Released Aug 13th, 2010 via Hottwerk / By Allan Judkins
Bearcraft - Yestreen (Hottwerk) With the vision of a new romantic type fellow with an embroidered illuminati symbol for a halo, and a name that sounds like that "make your own bear feature" you get in those shopping centre chains, it underlines the importance of the book by its cover rule. Even when it later draws to one's attention - how many bands are there with "bear" in the name now? With a quick namecheck of Panda, Polar, Grizzly, Minus The, Volcano The, and no further use of the B word thereon, we crack on and tap play.

Not 40 seconds in to opener 'Hero Man Gets To The Castle' and comparisons to the likes of Ant & Dec's number about the art of rumbling and the theme tune to The IT Crowd are already bang in there. Dare we enter within the castle after this we ask ourselves? It takes a while to get the 'Craft, aka Dicky Moore (?!?). With all due respect to the production values, this cannot have been made beyond the depths of a locked-in bedroom with a few Tolkien books and Commodore 64 games for company. However this is the turning point where the term "yet strangely compelling" is anchored. 'Broadswords' is an awkward tale of knights in armour and blinded farmers, but with the help of multi tracked harmonies and an array of kitsch synth effects. 'The Omega Point' being another high point of the album, despite a shameless stab at the old autotune chestnut, and some serious reminiscing of Tears For Fears' 'Mad World' in the verses. It depicts the story of a being who was born in a computer, with epic atmospheric synths perhaps not living up to their potential grandeur. Which is slightly cringe, but nevertheless enjoyable.

It remains a task to actually compare this cyber wizard to anyone worth a mention. Instead, it will be compared to one of those "make your own fairytale" books from the days of yore - with a sensuously enthralled keytarist donning the soundtrack to this. Yestreen is indeed an escapism album. After a handful of listens you may find yourself captured and held in this sorcerer's fortress before you even know it. It also comes across as innocent, sweet and slightly bridging on Syd Barrett-esque lyrical fantasies; if he had not missed the dayglo-electro phase by a year or two he might have got a brief appearance on T4. That said, this was admittedly 40+ minutes not wasted. You could easily sack this guy off, but put yourself in his imaginative moon-boots before you do and think twice.