Boy & Bear ‘Moonfire’ – Album Review
By J. Brown
Australia’s answer to the Fleet Foxes, Boy & Bear recently released their highly anticipated debut album Moonfire. This five-member band from Sydney burst onto the indie-rock scene with the release of their 2010 EP With Emperor Antarctica, and the song “Mexican Mavis” in particular grabbed enough attention to land the quintet a spot as opener for Laura Marling during a recent UK tour.
Major touring stints left fans eagerly awaiting this band’s first full-length release, and their popularity has only grown with the likes of Mumford & Sons applauding their stage craft. While we have highlighted many folk and/or indie bands from England, perhaps it’s time to show a little love to the Aussies, and Boy & Bear are a great starting point to showcase talented musicians from down under.
Cutting to the chase, Moonfire is incredibly catchy and overall a thoroughly enjoyable listening experience. While Boy & Bear have won fans attracted to the indie-folk scene, this album somewhat steps away from that limelight and more strongly falls under indie-pop; that being said, the use of banjo and mandolin will keep folk fans happy. Harmonizing of vocals is a key feature of their sound (hence the Fleet Foxes comparison), but what makes this band unique is that four out of five members are singer-songwriters and their ability to skillfully layer choruses emphasizes their vocal strengths. The band is comprised of Dave Hosking (Vocals, guitar), Jake Tarasenko (bass), Killian Gavin (vocals, guitars), Tim Hart (drums, vocals) and Jon Hart (banjo, mandolin, keyboards).
Standout tracks include “Part Time Believer,” which sounds eerily like America’s “Horse With No Name,” as well as “House and Farm” and “My Only One.” The inventiveness of “The Village” takes the album’s sound in a whole new direction and is a refreshing addition. I would love to see this band explore cultivating a sound similar to this song, as it touches on so many genres and even has some afro-like beats or an almost tribal feel to it.
If you want to see this band on tour, they only have a few more dates left in the States before they head back to Australia for additional touring. If you’re too late to see them live, then pick up their fantastic debut album. This being their first album, Moonfire shows Boy & Bear are off to a strong start.
Moonfires Track Listing:
- Lordy May
- Feeding Line
- Milk & Sticks
- Part Time Believer
- My Only One
- Percy Warner Park
- Golden Jubilee
- House And Farm
- The Village
- Big Man