Album Review: Straw Bear – Fiction

Straw Bear have actually been around on the music scene for a while now but were gently simmering away just below the surface of the world stage. However, with the release of their latest triumph, Fiction, this is all about to change. Mellow, eclectic and thoroughly eccentric; Fiction is a charming collection of songs that reel off like a modern-day fairy tale and drag you into a whimsical world that could be straight out of The Brothers Grimm.

As you might imagine from their almost pagan sounding name, Straw Bear straddle some blurred and peculiar lines within their music as they range from an almost mythical style of folk to an accentuated form of modern indie music with further couplings of funk and jazz fusions. This dramatic and eclectic nature makes for an unexpected and totally encapsulating journey of sound with some of the most intriguing and addictive tracks that we have come across in 2018. Filled with heady combinations of genres, songs like Shut the Door are rousing and fascinating melodies that you simply cannot shift. Their unique sound is something raw and powerful with a rich and playful tone to it. Songs like Noise monger are erratic throwback songs that echo traces of early 90’s rock wrapped up within a contemporary folk bubble.

Although it’s safe to say that you’ve never quite heard anything like this before there is also something within their music that is gently familiar. This familiarity gives a personable aspect and a warm nature to their songs as they overlay their charming and tender harmonies in a manner that isn’t dissimilar from The Shins. This is one of the most amazing aspects in their work – the fact that the music they surround themselves with swells and grows throughout and yet it feels as though they never raise their voices to match it. Instead their rich and evocative voices remain still and while you never find yourself straining to hear them, the simple act of not raising their voices gives their performance so much more of an intimate atmosphere. Listening to Fiction feels as though they are performing for you live in your living room just a few feet away.

Fiction is a completely inimitable album with a depth and versatility to it that even then barely scratches the surface of their capabilities. The band are a tightly wound spring ready to go at any time and their music is as tense and powerful as they are. With such a versatility and range at their disposal you can expect to hear more from Straw Bear with each passing day.

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Review by Joe Knipe

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