Hunter & the Bear: ‘Dusty Road’

Posted: December 8, 2013 in Record Reviews

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Hunter & the Bear, a folk trio formed by Jimmy Hunter and Will Irvine, recently released their debut EP ‘Dusty Road. An EP that is full of melancholy and that brings you back to a dark pub on a rainy night, sitting next to a warm fire with a beer in front of you.

An impressive list of gigs (supporting Bruce Springsteen and Kasabian), even before they released their debut, does give them quite a head start when listening to their EP.

The opening track and single, Forest on the Hill, starts with an upbeat, mysterious sounding guitar, accompanied by mandolin, which immediately draws your attention. But when Hunter starts to sing I can’t help but compare them to Mumford & Sons, although Hunter & the Bear is more of a rough cousin than a twin. The violin and female backing vocal in the North bring up a melancholic desire to leave the city and to (like the song says) ‘Sail towards the sun. And that desire, which you can hear back in most of the songs, is what makes me want to listen to it again.

Maybe it is unfair to compare them to a band like Mumford & Sons, when that’s a comparison easily made when you hear a mandolin or banjo and harmonising vocals. The bluegrass/Americana influence does make it sound a bit different though and their vocals sound a lot tougher than those of their British colleagues.

But the first three songs are all quite predictable and even though the last song Taliesin, starts with a different and more poppy sounding intro, it gets quite predictable again afterwards.

Hunter sings a lot about ‘the road and other mysterious destinations, but maybe they should try to leave the main street, take a side-way and make the journey a bit more interesting.

Would I buy their EP? No, but don’t get me wrong, I liked their songs and I would definitely enjoy seeing them live. Listening to them did make me curious to see how they develop in the future and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them appear on a lot of festivals coming summer.

-Words by: Thom Rondeel-

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