closing date: 6 Jul 2012
Debut Album: Bear Driver ' June 11
New Single: 'Enemy' out May 28
Live: Barfly ' June 7 The Old Blue Last ' June 8
'Big Love' 6Music Shaun Keaveny Record of the Week
'For an outfit only just finding their feet, [this] is nothing short of astonishing' - The Guardian
Sunny-slacker pop exponents Bear Driver will release their self-titled debut album on June 11 through Adventure Club Records, preceded by new single 'Enemy' on May 28. The band has already picked up a raft of critical support following the release of 'Big Love' as a single, including radio support from Radio 1, 6Music (including Record of the Week at Shaun Keaveny) and XFM. The band will be playing live in London at The Barfly on June 7, The Old Blue Last on June 8, and an Oh! Inverted World show at The Old Queens Head on June 21.
Bear Driver's roots originate from Leeds, where Oli Deakin and Harry Dean gravitated into musical partnership- 'We'd always played together in other people's bands and said we should start our own. Then we lived in a house together and said we should start a band. Then we booked ourselves a gig and we had to start a band'. The key moment for Bear Driver came last year, when following their SXSW appearance (playing alongside longstanding heroes .....And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead), they secured a live show at NYC's legendary Mercury Lounge. Having traipsed the winding paths of Central Park, the band came entirely by chance upon a Yo La Tengo charity gig, which included performances by David Byrne and Glen Mercer. Galvanised by these encounters with two hugely influential bands, the band returned to London intent on recording their debut album.
Cue a somewhat frantic spate of wine-fuelled, nocturnal rehearsal sessions at a studio sequestered somewhat unusually up in the Lake District. It was here that the seeds for the palpably live album that has become 'Bear Driver' were sown, as the band thundered through live take after live take of material till they had it nailed. Inspired by the production values of John Parrish and the classic albums of PJ Harvey and Sparklehorse, the band sought to - in a near literal sense - thrash out the tracks which would come to form their record. Says Oli, 'A lot of the time it's like sitting down to do a jigsaw in the dark - you can tell if things are fitting together, but you're not really sure if it's going to look any good when you're done, and then the next day you come shine a light on it, and you think 'aw man, it's all back to front, I need to put that there'.
Recorded live in a disused swimming pool in Bermondsey, the album seems to have absorbed some of the ease of its creation, bedecked variously with the burr of a bright red Farfisa organ, and a suitably dusty Wurlitzer- both discovered in said pool-come-studio. The songs have an energy and a freshness about them- the fuzzily exuberant single 'Big Love' and the languid, dreamy 'Never Never', to take two examples, were born of an all-night session fuelled by wine and the Cure's greatest hits. The woozy moments of the latter are not all pervading, however, and love's little spats are transformed into gorgeously grungy pop pleasure on the likes of the giddily rushing 'Let The Cold', whilst juggernaut track 'No Time to Speak' couples a melodic tautness to the hiss of live recording with spectacular results.
Constructed like a jigsaw in the dark though it may have been, the incendiary material of 'Bear Driver' proves in no uncertain terms that nothing about this brilliant debut has come about by fluke.
June 7 LONDON The Barfly (w/ Among Brothers)
June 8 LONDON The Old Blue Last
June 21 LONDON The Old Queens Head (Oh! Inverted World Presents)
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