Bear’s Den - Red Earth & Pouring Rain (Communion Records)

London alt. folk outfit return with outstanding second LP, possibly their breakthrough set

Released Jul 22nd, 2016 via Communion Records / By Jethro West
Bear’s Den - Red Earth & Pouring Rain (Communion Records) I could try and tell you how Bear’s Den have once again magnificently echoed the trademark Mumford and Sons niche of banjos, trumpets and hipster facial hair. Instead,Red Earth & Pouring Rain, is magnificent in its own right; it’s truly glorious.

Second studio albums in the modern music industry tend to be career defining, and there are plenty of examples where artists seem to lose their sense of sound and direction. Nevertheless, the London duo have written a masterpiece of a follow up to 2014’s Islands and every track offers a reinvention of the beautiful sound manifested throughout their debut album.

Title and opening track, ‘Red Earth & Pouring Rain’ is a perfect embodiment of this sentiment. Anthemic choruses are swapped for intimate vocal harmonies that wash over you in waves of emotion. The once familiar acoustic sound is transformed with sophisticated and resonant guitar rhythms and solos that interwork brilliantly with a modern folk backing of spiralling electronica and synth. And finally, the lyrics are once again on point; you'll never forget the lines “Don't you remember, love/ Don't you remember anything? It's just you and I, love/ In the red earth and the pouring rain”. You'll simply feel insurmountable.

‘Emeralds’ follows in similar fashion before ‘Dew on the Vine’ and ‘New Jerusalem’ offers something more nostalgic from the band: banjos, thumping drums, biblical references and brass.

However, the band’s sensitivity emanates from start to finish and ‘Love Can't Stand Alone’ is Bear’s Den at their most poignant. The song melts you away; a heartbreaking ode to remedying the past. It's a song that must be listened to in its entirety without distraction to really appreciate its lyrical maturity and emotional development.

Final highlights of the album include new single, ‘Auld Wives’ and soon-to-be classic, ‘Greenwoods Bethlemen’ showcasing all that is new and exciting from Andrew Davie and Kevin Jones.

Needless to say, Red Earth & Pouring Rain has got to be the record of the summer due for release towards the end of the month and there's perhaps a huge sense of anticipation that Bear’s Den are about to make it big-time.