By Hollie Jones
Meet Bear’s Den: Andrew Davie, Joey Haynes and Kevin Jones, a folk inspired, alternative country referencing trio from London, England.
The band just wrapped their Agape tour, which saw them play their first headline shows across the UK, including the capital, where they played to a fixated crowd at The Slaughtered Lamb, an intimate setting in Farringdon. Fans who caught the tour were treated to songs from the band’s new EP Agape, set for release March 18 via Communion Records in addition to some older and unreleased material.
The band’s commitment to DIY shows their care for their craft. The guys print each CD and record with paw prints via a hand carved potato and paint, each band member hand printing their own stamp to the CD or record. At the Slaughtered Lamb show, Kev took to his drum kit with his hands still covered in red paint.
It is clear that Bear’s Den pay just as much care and attention to their work in the studio, and each of Agape’s 5 tracks is as honest and raw in MP3 form as in a live setting. The EP is carefully produced so that each vocal crack and breathy pause is captured, resulting in an emotive, stirring recording. From ‘Issac’ a soft and dreamy song with two acoustic guitars and a banjo accompaniment to the dark tones of ‘When You Break’ to the rich, hooky harmonies of ‘A Year Ago Today’ Agape plays host to a combination of mellow love songs and traditional folk tales.
Opening with title track ‘Agape’ the EP begins with soft, heart-felt rock laced with twangy banjo loops. The song, framed around the ambiguous Greek word for love, is lyrically endearing: “I’m so scared of losing you, and I don’t know what I can do, about it” “I don’t wanna know, who I am, without you”. Davie’s soft, emotionally uninhibited vocals deliver haunting and affective lyrics, which are embellished by bewitching three-part harmonies.
The standout track on Agape arrives three songs in with ‘Mother’ my favourite song on the EP. ‘Mother’ begins with a plodding bass drum, slowly building into a primitive banjo melody and finally introduces Davie’s vocals, littered with pauses and repetitions. The lyrical style melodically drives the track, transforming ‘Mother’ into a folk fable.
The magic of Bear’s Den’s recordings is not lost in a live setting. It is easy to see how the group have built on their support slots for the likes of Mumford and Sons, Daughter and Of Monsters and Men and maintained a loyal fan base despite maintaining a low internet profile. The magic of the Bear’s Den recording is embellished by the trio’s charming stage presence and warm interactions with those that gather to watch them, giving weight to their lyrical sincerity.
The standout moment of their Slaughtered Lamb set was an impromptu encore with opening artist Joe Banfi. The trio plus Joe gathered at the front of the room with a pile of hand written lyric/chord sheets and set about their own unique version of Haim’s ‘Don’t Save Me’.
We are promised a studio version is on it’s way soon- keep your eyes peeled!
Bear’s Den release Agape via Communion Records on March 18 (available to pre-order now), and will celebrate by playing an already sold out show at St Stephens Church. If you weren’t lucky enough to bag a ticket, you can catch them on tour with Daughter for their European & UK tour dates in April.
Mon, 2nd April – Istanbul, Salon
Thurs, 4th April – Brussels, Botanique
Fri, 5th April – Rotterdam, Motel Mozaique
Sun, 7th April – Amsterdam, Melkweg
Mon, 8th April – Koln, Gebauede 9
Tues, 9th April – Berlin, Festsaal Kreutberg
Wed, 10th April – Copenhagen, Vega (small hall)
Fri, 12th April – Lund, Mejeriet
Sat, 13th April – Stockholm, Debaser Slussen
Mon, 15th April – Hamburg, Knust
Tues, 16th April – Frankfurt, Zoom
Wed, 17th April – Zurich, Mascotte
Thurs, 18th April – Lausanne, Le Romandie
Fri, 19th April – Paris, Cafe de la Danse
Sun, 21st April – Birmingham Library
Mon, 22nd April – Liverpool, Anglican Cathedral
Tues, 23rd April – Oxford, Town Hall
Wed, 24th April – Bournemouth, Old Fire Station