Andrew Davie, Kev Jones and Joey Haynes – three London lads – make thoughtfully crafted music filled with rich harmonies and melancholic lyricism that if you’re not careful will tug on your heartstrings.

Refined under the wings of UK label Communion, Bear’s Den have polished their own folk finesse to produce their debut EP, Without/Within.

Consisting of six tracks, it’s a compelling 26-minute collection of hushed brush drums, shimmering fingerpicking and a pillowy falsetto that at times wanders dangerously close to Mumford & Sons territory.

Psychedelic instrumentals open ‘Sahara Pt. I’, with subtle harmonies that are set adrift into the air. The single willingly melts into a caressing reverb of acoustic strumming, slipping into ‘Sahara Pt. II.’ Understated percussion layers steady under Davie’s swish blend of vocals.

‘Don’t Let The Sun Steal You Away’ is a stripped-down effort with a slow-building crescendo. The track is driven by intricate work on the banjo before meandering guitar riffs intertwine over the top of a sturdy bass drum. The vocals’ delicate tenacity recount the nostalgic pain of a dwindling love. “I’m scared of hurting someone / The way I’ve been hurt by you”; “I don’t want to touch you in the night / If I cannot hold you in the day / But as the sun slowly rises / Your love for me decays”.

Without/Within is a tranquil acoustic album that manages to imbue classic folk sensibilities. Although sometimes the tunes can be underwhelming, as a whole the EP makes for an exciting and promising debut.

3.5/5 stars


Without/Within is out now through Communion/Dew Process.

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