Music Review – Bear’s Den – Think of England

Not so much a new year’s resolution as a non-specific target, my aim this year is to write as much as I possibly can in as many different places as possible.

“Ah”, I hear you cry, “but what about this here ‘blog, that is meant to be all about writing?”

Well (you hear me respond), sadly due to the constraints imposed by the fact that there are only 24 hours in a day and I am unable to utilise the full complement of hours in writing due to having a job, a family, sleep, etc. it means that I have to forego some pleasures (e.g., this ‘blog) to enable others.

However, one of the things I have been doing is writing for a proper website, they do music reviews, fashion and culture, mostly for young people (they don’t seem to have cottoned on to the fact that I’m twice the age of most of their readers yet). I saw the ad for it on a media website I subscribe to job adverts for, just to make sure I’m there if anything interesting ever comes up. Anyway this (unpaid) job did, and I thought, what could be the harm in trying out for it.

I sent an email with a few links to other stuff I’ve written and why I was interested in the role and got a swift response from Laura, who runs the site, offering me a choice of songs to have a go at. So I started writing, finished writing, then sent it off to see what she thought. When she came back saying (and I quote) “Great article!”

I have done about nine or ten reviews now and try and do at least one a week. I wrote to the lovely people who look after the site last week and asked if they would mind me cross posting to this site and they said that the written words belong to me so go for my life.

The full website can be found at http://www.semplesize.com, but the versions I post on LadleWritings will be the original unedited ones, so you might get a few odd tangents or interesting asides than were allowed on the official pages.

My first article was this one, which I thought was rather apt having only immigrated last year! You can find the original article here.


Bear’s Den | Think of England

Taking a more laid back, stripped down approach than any of their label-mates, including Bad Suns and Rubblebucket, Bear’s Den tend towards the introspective. Their new album could quite happily find itself accompanying a TV drama about attractive people in their mid-twenties, who are trying to discover themselves. If a lucky producer did happen to “discover” Bear’s Den then Think of England would probably be the song that accompanied the scene where one of the plucky heroines was going for a job interview, then had to reciprocate a lecherous potential bosses advances. But I digress…
Andrew Davie’s vocals bring to mind Gary Lightbody on gentler Snow Patrol tracks like Set the Fire to the Third Bar or You Could be Happy. Now imagine, if you will, that a Mumford & Sons audience were treated to a gig one night, when the band had forgotten their mandolin, the resulting sounds would have been very much like those accompanying Davie’s lilting tones.
The video for Think of England is a study in understatement. You only ever see one person at a time, even if you occasionally get the odd double exposure with the same person in the foreground and background. That is until the chorus, which ramps it up a bit with a triple exposure of all three band members.
Gareth Phillips, the director, steers the video in his usual inimitable fashion. Anyone who has seen Chocolate by The 1975 or Get Away by Circa Waves won’t be surprised to see slow motion footage in black and white. However the boat, such as it is, gets pushed out for Bear’s Den with the addition of a dancer, who randomly gets to wave her long flowing locks around and ignore the camera in an intense way. If you want to see this kind of dancing done well try searching for Kate Bush on YouTube.

Overall the video is well made and presented, but nothing to write home about. The band can give themselves a pat on the back for keeping their steering wheel centred on their own genre, and Mr Phillips obviously knows how to wield a high speed camera. But overall it was too predictable for my liking, putting far too much emphasis on the low-fi nature of the music. It could really have done with images which counter the sounds, something along the lines of motor racing or a lead character running as fast as they could to get away from some unknown and hideous terror chasing them through an everlasting post-apocalyptic wasteland.

Mix it up a bit Bears!

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About Dan Ladle

Part Man, Part Machine, All Diabetic. 1 Wife, 1 Son, 1 Daughter, 1 Cat, 1 Insulin Pump, Type 1 Diabetic, Writer, Musician, Web-Monkey, Idiot. View all posts by Dan Ladle

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