Red Earth & Pouring Rain, the latest from UK’s folk-rock duo Bear’s Den, is set to be released this Friday, July 22 via Communion. The anthemic twelve-track album follows their 2014 debut LP Islands, which received widespread critical acclaim and a nomination for UK’s prestigious Ivor Novello Award for songwriting and composing. In the wake of their amicable split with guitarist Joey Haynes, Bear’s Den had to reinvent themselves around singer-guitarist Andrew Davie and multi-instrumentalist Kev Jones. Red Earth & Pouring Rain is a tribute to that quest for new identity as the duo grapples with fading relationships, growing up, and growing apart. “I look for you every night. I search all my dreams,” Davie sings on “Emeralds.” “Are you there at all? Won’t you break my fall? Don’t leave here me waiting. No, we’ve come so far.” Red Earth & Pouring Rain embraces the dirty realism of Raymond Carver’s short stories, confronting the solitude and loss of everyday life, and recreates the uneasy encounters from Edward Hopper’s paintings. The album explores alienation, isolation, regret, and confinement with doleful harmony and atmospheric lilt. Their lush sound, layered with vulnerability, hangs in the air like an unanswered question.
Davie’s impassioned lyrics are intensely intimate as he wades through his own painful thoughts and memories. “I see his face carved deep in the stone. Another mind you have taken away,” he sings on “Auld Wives” about his grandfather’s declining health. “I swam across the ocean to find your memory. A trace of all you’ve left behind.” Taking a cue from Hopper, Davie takes an otherwise silent space and lets it speak its own story. The interaction is so subtle, yet fiercely evocative.
Like Islands, Red Earth & Pouring Rain was shaped by the band’s experiences on the road. “We wanted to make a great album for driving at night,” Jones explained, and they sought to capture “the idea of driving forward while looking in the rear view mirror, that sense of contrary motion.” The band’s swirling reverb echoes with a sense of weightlessness, the freedom to go anywhere and do anything, but holds with it the pressure to not get lost. Prior to their six-week tour across Europe and the UK in October and November, Bear’s Den will headline a US tour this September with two shows at Brooklyn’s Rough Trade on the 13th and 14th.
Pre-Order Red Earth & Pouring Rain HERE
Article: Heather McAdams