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Bear's Den - Islands

by DavidBeech
DavidBeech
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on 20 October 2014 in Albums & EPs
Record Label Communion / Caroline
Release date October 20 2014

Whilst the music of Bear's Den might well be warm, comfortingly familiar and even nostalgic, Islands is a record that, for all its sentiment, is still as fragile in its entirety as the characters that populate the individual narratives. Though that's no bad thing. "The whole record is about people at a breaking point, whether it's coming of age, or their lives falling apart" says guitarist Andrew Davie, illustrating a theme present across the album as a whole, not just in his lyricism. Even the most musically optimistic tracks ('Agape') form the backdrop to romantic inferiority - an emotion felt by even the least paranoid amongst us. It isn't until the latter half, however, that such instability is really brought to the fore; 'When You Break' the tipping point, quickly followed by 'Stubborn Beast' and 'Bad Blood' each harbouring an inherent darkness that's a far cry from the beautiful melancholy of 'Above the Clouds of Pompeii' for instance. It's somewhat fitting then, that the band's name was inspired by Where the Wild Things Are, a story viewed from the perspective of both an adult and a child, and a perspective taken in turn by the band, particularly on the aforementioned '...Pompeii'. Interestingly enough, Islands also conjures the feelings of isolation and alienation, often romantic, other times not, but always universally felt by those poised on the brink between youth and adulthood, never quite knowing where they stand, nor where they're going, and often pushed to the brink of their patience, evidenced on the stark, revelatory closer 'Bad Blood'. This fulfils the foreshadowed promise that, whilst it might offer up moments of warmth and nostalgia, Islands is not an optimistic album, offering catharsis instead of hope and more than willingly reminding you that life might not always go in your favour, but it is always beautiful. 

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