Review of Bear Cavalry: Maple Trails EP
With seemingly all of BBC Radio backing them you come to listen to Bear Cavalry's
For starters you cannot argue against the fact that they know how to put a radio-friendly song together. Sitting somewhere between The Wombats and Friendly Fires to my ear, and probably Vampire Weekend too suggests that Bear Cavalry are certainly mixing a similar brew to some seriously successful acts, and as such similar achievements may be within their collective grasp. But are they unique in their own right to justify their place?
They have exposed themselves to a range of musical styles, learned their lessons, and then applied them to the sort of music that they want to make. I’m not sure that this is in anyway ground breaking, and I have heard numerous unsigned bands do so with at least equal aplomb, but it is a clear indication that these guys are self-aware enough to know the musical path upon which they walk.
Having already won the plaudits of Annie Mac, Kissy Sell Out, Nick Grimshaw, Edith Bowman, Tom Robinson and perhaps surprisingly Skrillex, this four-piece have an enviable list of notable supporters. Certainly they have their fans at the BBC, but I’m not sure whether Skrillex’s regular Dubstep fanbase will be setting up camp at Bear Cavalry’s gigs.
Listening to this I don’t feel the need to roll-out the bunting and declare a new age of music has dawned, but I don’t think that’s what Bear Cavalry is intending to do anyway. This is a very solid, very polished outing for a band that deserves many years in the biz; I’m already hungry for a long player.
This is the sort of versatile music that adapts to a context; there’s jollity enough to keep you dancing in a club, to keep your head nodding whilst you’re driving or doing that awkward half-swagger if you are walking through the city centre. That being said the lyrics are substantial enough to keep you thinking if you are just sat around, or doing those dreaded household chores.
“Roman Summer” “Custom Hands” “Will Smith Solves The Rubik’s Cube” all flow nicely into each other without too much fuss and ceremony between the tracks, whilst “Dragon’s Milk Pt II” manages to demonstrate that there is sufficient breadth and scope in Bear Cavalry’s repertoire to venture in new directions without compromising on the integrity of their identifiable sound.
Doing these sorts of reviews you can end up looking at your iPod thinking ‘I need to clear some of this stuff off here now the piece is written’ but there are some that end up unassailably claiming their little section of hard disk. I don’t expect to see Bear Cavalry’s “Maple Trails EP” dropping off the sync any time soon.
I spent some time trying to figure out where to place my score on this one, but ultimately I think given the context of this EP as a foot in the door, you couldn’t hope for a much more impressive first step.