Foundations: Bear’s Den

Digging into their musical bedrock...

Bear’s Den are obsessed with the craft of songwriting.

The band’s catalogue is littered with jewels, balancing a fondness for a classic sound with something refreshing.

Pouring their heart into each project, Bear’s Den recently returned with new album ‘Blue Hours’.

Opening up further, the material discusses mental health in a frank, empathetic manner. Andrew Davie explain: “It’s the main overarching theme with this record… It probably speaks to our struggles and hopefully many other people’s too. Men are not very good at talking. We’re not really taught how to – men have no idea how to talk about this stuff, certainly to each other.”

A fine return, Clash spoke to the pair about their musical bedrock, digging into the albums that truly made a difference to them.

The songwriter tells us: “I think trying to whittle down the albums that are pivotal and important to us as a band are just too numerous. All I can speak to is records that really inspired me personally both lyrically and musically throughout writing the songs for ‘Blue Hours’. During that time these records were a real comfort and were super inspiring.”

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elbow – ‘Seldom Seen Kid’

Foundations: Bear’s Den

We spoke at length about this album while recording ‘Blue Hours’. We’d both been fans of elbow for a long time but this record felt like musically, lyrically and on a production level, everything clicked into place. There was a kind of bravery and an assuredness in the risks that elbow took on this record that only comes from a band that’s on top of their game.

It’s a beautiful album and a favourite of both of ours.

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The Barr Brothers – ‘The Barr Brothers’

Foundations: Bear’s Den

Incredible band with unbelievable musicianship and fantastic lyrics. Saw them play at Union Chapel a few years ago and it was one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. Brad Barr’s words are so brilliant too.

I could have plucked any of their albums but this was the first we both came to and songs like ‘Beggar In The Morning’ and ‘Old Mythologies’ have and will always need a wider audience. Incredible band.

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Adrianne Lenker – ‘Songs’

Foundations: Bear’s Den

I listened to this album so much when writing lyrics to ‘Blue Hours’. She’s just an unbelievable songwriter and I genuinely feel very lucky to be alive while she’s writing songs.

Big Thief is obviously an extraordinary band but I thought I’d choose her solo work as Adrianne’s sense of melody and her incredibly unique stream of consciousness style is just amazing to me and I love hearing it completely exposed.

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Sylvan Esso – ‘Echo Mountain Sessions’

Foundations: Bear’s Den

I remember a friend showing me the videos from this E.P and I was just totally blown away.

It’s a live “band” performance of Sylvan Esso which is traditionally a much more electronic setup that I’ve always loved but here there’s members of Wye Oak, The Mountain Goats, Hiss Golden Messenger, Mountain Man and Megafaun all performing and its how we came across the amazing saxophone playing of Matt Douglas who ended up performing on our album. He’s incredible and this session is amazing.

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Harry Nilsson – ‘Nilsson Schmilsson’

Foundations: Bear’s Den

I think this album safely contains two of the greatest songs of all time… namely my favourite cover of all time: ‘Without You’ (originally by Badfinger) and the genius: ‘Coconut’. It’s also perhaps the best album title ever too.

Not a lot more needs to be said. Harry Nillsson is a genius. Can one second sing something completely hilarious and the next something so completely heartbreaking.

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‘Blue Hours’ is out now.

Photo Credit: Bennie Curnow

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