As we enter the festive period it’s inevitable that all the old Christmas tunes will get dusted off, along with some new songs to compete with Mariah Carey’s yuletide warbling’s; however please don’t think that Bear’s Den have whipped out the sleigh bells for your standard ode to the holiday season though. This three track EP ‘Only Song of the Falling Snow’ is more of a celebration of Winter; the cold bracing winds and the dark nights but the cosiness of a warm fire as you shut out the chill of another frosty evening.
The idea behind the London band’s latest offering was to “make an EP that felt intimate, nostalgic and felt united by the theme of winter”; the trio of songs are sparsely constructed, mostly bound together by a skeletal acoustic strum and the faintest flicker of brass or piano. The EP itself is anchored by a reflective mode and this is most pertinent with the record’s title track; the narrative is of someone returning to their family home but with a mournful hue that colours the experience. Lead singer Andrew Davie murmurs the confessional words “she’ll ask me why I never call/why my pride only arrives before I fall” when talking to his mother as she’s preparing a meal for the family. Davie himself is found in a self-deprecating mood too “oh the man that I was/and the boy I have become” like someone coming face to face with their own poor decisions. ‘The Star of Bethnal Green’ shimmers delicately like a solitary glimmer in a jet-black sky. Isolated piano twinkles carry an icy demeanour as they pirouette around tender pitter-patter drums. The slow swell of brass gives the song it’s wintery feeling too, like the gentle waft of a chilling breeze. ‘Longhope’ shivers with unbridled intimacy as Davie pleads “don’t leave her hanging around/she won’t wait there forever”. The song acts like a guiding light, which has the group’s singer light up a beacon as he states, “I’m just feeling my way through the winter night”.
Although ‘Only Son of the Falling Snow’ has winter as it’s muse and it’s songs are spectral and raw, there’s a warmth that gently crackles and pops like logs and coal quietly burning with a comforting glow.
Words and Thought of Adam Williams