Australia’s Boy & Bear Go From Down Under To Over the Top
Despite their rather unusual handle, Boy & Bear have attracted plenty of notice since their founding back in 2009. With three albums under their belt — their most recent, Limit of Love, was released just this past October — this Aussie ensemble has received all sorts of critical kudos, including top ten status in their home country for each of their previous two releases, Moonfire (2011) and Harlequin Dream (2013), with the latter eventually reaching number one. Limit of Love made its debut at that top spot and now, with a world tour currently underway, it shows no signs of letting up.
Comprised of David Hosking (vocals and guitar), Killian Gavin (vocals and guitar), Timothy Hart (drums and vocals), Jonathan Hart (vocals, banjo, mandolin and keyboards), and David Symes (bass), the band cites an array of diverse influences — Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Al Green, Bill Withers, Curtis Mayfield, James Brown, and Sly and the Family Stone among the many. However, even a cursory listen suggests a sound more akin to Crowded House in style and sensibility.
“The band did a lot of shows in support of Harlequin Dream, and through this a new energy and sound started to form,” Symes explains. “We really wanted to capture the songs in an honest and true environment, recording in a way that best represented good performances of the songs in a live setting.”
Indeed, there’s a bounce and buoyancy accompanying the new songs. At the same time, the sweep of steel guitar that underscores “Breakdown Slow” expresses an element of Americana along with a decidedly roots/folk rock sensibility.
“We love writing songs, making albums, and touring the world,” Symes says. “We’re lucky to be given these opportunities and hope to keep doing it for years to come.”
In fact, the group toured extensively in support of Harlequin Dream, honing their chops and finding positive reactions from audiences in the process. For his part, Symes couldn’t be more pleased.
“We were excited that we were able to play so many shows around the world last year, and we really enjoyed making this new album with Ethan Johns at Real World Studios,” he says. “It’s going to be nice to get to play the new album to people and take the show on the road again.”
Despite a lyric on “Just Dumb,” one of the new songs from the new album, that goes “Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong, or maybe I’m dumb,” it’s clear Boy & Bear are making all the correct moves and quickly gaining momentum in the process. Symes sums up the band’s ambitions:
“Hopefully people will want to turn it up and play the new album on repeat!”