Expectations are difficult things. Boy and Bear's lauded and awarded EP With Emperor Antarctica was my first ever review on Indie Shuffle. Needless to say, I love the Sydney five-piece.
When news hit that they were working on their first full-length album, I was initially over the moon. Then, the hater in me hit -- how could they live up to the great expectations I had of them? How could they follow up an EP which delivered them accolades such as Rolling Stone's "Artist to Watch in 2010" or Triple J Unearthed's "Artist of the Year"? HOW?
Boy and Bear toured in June and I caught their show. After seeing them perform again, my worries quickly evaporated. All I needed to do then was to wait until the release of Moonfire and everything would be set right again. Since opening my mailbox last week to find a CD-shaped package grinning up at me, I have not let a day pass without listening to Moonfire at least once in its entirety. It's good. Real good.
Deciding to record the album with producer Joe Chicarrelli "“ of Stokes and My Morning Jacket fame "“ the band set up base in the musical hotbed that is Nashville. Part of the reason for this relocation was to push themselves, mainly to avoid being pigeon-holed as "that type of band".
Chicarelli's expertise has clearly paid dividends. Aside from the folky twangs which linger from the EP, there is a much more mature and well-rounded side to this record. First single "Feeding Line" is a driving and powerful jaunt, but does not stray too much from their new folk beginnings. Recent release "Milk and Sticks" is an interesting transitional piece, changing pace and feel mid-track. "Part Time Believer" delves into a time passed, with a great bluesy vibe assisting the tale-telling.
Beautiful harmonies and acoustic touches drive this album, Boy and Bear have shown that they're no flash in the pan. With an unquenched thirst to challenge themselves musically, Moonfire will no doubt set the anxieties of those expectant fans to rest.