Bears in Hazenmore is the combined talents of Brady Frank (lead vocals, guitar, keys, trombone and French horn), Dana Rempel (tenor and alto sax bass), Darnell Stewart (guitar, bass), Tanner Wilhelm Hale (drums, percussion and vocals) and Dalton Lam (trumpet, flugelhorn and vocals). They recently released a self-titled three-song EP that shows a band with a huge amount of potential. On their Bandcamp page they describe their music as “ambient-indie folk,” which is completely accurate but I would also like to throw the word pop in there as well.
The band creates expansive soundscapes in which Frank can sing over. I appreciated the vocals and thought they added to the music but I would have been happy just listening to the music itself. One component that needs to be mentioned is how integral the horns are to this music. It adds another layer of depth and complexity that sounds symbiotic against the guitars that have an ample amount of hall-like reverb on them.
The first track “Winter Air” initially contains loose, sparse guitar and doesn't take long to get layered with horns and percussion. I was reminded of Bon Iver at times - think “Holocene” not “Flume.” The music is so good the vocals can almost be overlooked at times. Frank does indeed have a good voice and also has a knack for delivering infectious vocal melodies. Towards the end the vocal harmonies combine with the boiling intensity of the music creating a climax.
“Thirty-Four Days” is another success. The song finds its finest moments when Brady repeats the lines “I don’t know what you want” before exploding into the last part of the song. They close with “These Northern Mountains,” which is another testament to the talents of the band.
Bears In Hazenmore certainly impressed with this debut EP. I normally have some advice but all I would say here is keep making music and get it into as many hands as possible.
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