Bear's Den - 'Blue Hours'

7/10

Throughout their tenure, Bear's Den have always been ones to explore the more personal and intimate side to the folk-pop sound, but these last few years have dramatically changed their perspective about life and music. At the end of 2020, the duo released the 'Christmas, Hopefully' EP, a collection that was inspired largely by frontman Andrew Davie's fiancé, a doctor who has been dramatically affected by the events of that year. This prompted the pair to address more serious social issues in the wake of the pandemic, and return with their fourth full-length 'Blue Hours', a record that aims to spread a message of hope.

Like so many in recent years, Bear's Den struggled with their fair-share of depression and anxiety brought on by the lockdowns, leading them to collaborate with UK suicide-prevention charity Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) and focus their songwriting around these difficult themes. As a result, 'Blue Hours' finds itself a deeply frank and open listen that look confront these issue head on. Threaded with their usual rich and captivating aesthetic, they occupy a far more heartfelt and driven guise this time around, showcasing thought-provoking and eye-opening prose throughout.

While self-reflection and mental health are not the easiest topics to tackle, especially within music, 'Blue Hours' makes a consistent attempt to find a rich and vibrant tone in which to place itself. Both members are baring their souls throughout this new release, giving it a wonderfully inviting and humble feel.

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