I cannot begin to describe the excitement I get when I’m listening to or talking about Boy & Bear. The Aussie group is made up of Dave Hosking, Killian Gavin, Tim Hart, Jon Hart and Jake Tarasenko – who sadly announced his departure from the band late last year with the intent to “pursue other interests”. I first heard this quintet playing live at the Big Day Out last year (better late than never) but needless to say my life and iPod playlist have never been the same. They were playing their iconic cover of Fall At Your Feet by Crowded House, and I was in awe of the stillness they could create amongst a crowd of thousands. Their well worn-in & old-timely sound mixed with choral harmonies capturing everybody’s undivided attention.
Soon after I found myself watching them play at the State Theatre, hearing the beautiful melodies of their debut album Moonfire like Feeding Line, Part Time Believer and Milk & Sticks. This album saw the boys sweep the 2011 ARIA Music Awards, taking home five awards: Breakthrough Artist – Single for “Feeding Line”; and Album of the Year, Best Group, Breakthrough Artist – Album and Best Adult Alternative Release for Moonfire. Ever since, these boys have been working hard touring and (you guessed it) recording their forthcoming second album “Harlequin Dream”, and on the 3rd June fans finally got the taste they were all heavily anticipating with the release of its first single “Southern Sun”.
Though their sound already illuminates memories from past eras, this particular track really channels the style of Bruce Springsteen, Paul Simon and Fleetwood Mac. Starting off with the slow and reflective introduction of just strings, acoustic guitar and Dave’s beautifully unique voice, the song then launches into a West Coast rock feel reminiscent of the Rumours-era as it is joined by electric guitar, drums and the organ. Personal highlights from the track include that awesome electric guitar riff that is then made into a motif as it’s reproduced from the strings, and of course the warm harmonies the boys never fail to produce.
Each melody created by Boy & Bear tells the most fascinating story and I’m always interested to know what triggers the lyrics they come up with. After doing some research I found out that the song’s inspiration comes from the sunset that filled the band’s view as they took to the stage for the 2013 Falls Festival. “We had these chords, and the melody was spitting out and Tim and I just started throwing out these lyrics” says Hosking, “’Write them down, write them down’ we were shouting at each other. It was like having a blank canvas and we were just tossing things at it”
The upcoming 70s sounding album “Harlequin Dream”, recorded at Sydney’s Alberts Studio and co-produced by the boys and the incredible Wayne Connolly – who has worked with some of Australia’s most successful bands like Josh Pyke, The Vines and Silverchair – is in fact set to be released later this year. If you’re one of those lucky people who secured a sold out ticket to the upcoming Splendour in The Grass you’ll certainly be hearing this single as well as some other fantastic new material on the opening Friday night. I’ll just have to catch up to you guys when their album is officially released, and I am beyond excited for that day.
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