By The Bear Driver
The Bear Driver show no signs of hesitation in demonstrating their creative prowess on 'Paws and Claws' - the concise three-track E.P hasn't any time to waste on rehashes or reiterations, and each tune in turn showcases their distinctive songwriting style.
While staying stylistically coherent, they handle and apply various strong musical ideas with surprising maturity: both 'No Time To Speak' and 'A Thousand Samurais' stick safely within a terse, strophic, radio-friendly format but find a more personal voice in willowier melodies and resourceful inner-part filling with glockenspiel and fuzzy keys. 'Ada Rose,' despite some initially slightly awkward word-setting, grows into a stylish exploration of a less-trod approach, as its sunny and snappy simplicity winds down and is replaced by a half-tempo musical breakdown of impressive proportions, giving way to gauzy, upper-register bass and fragments of vocal counterpoint and ostinati; a slow but beautiful textural deconstruction.
And yet, despite this musical maturity, there's something almost child-like about the E.P. Perhaps it's the unmediated enthusiasm which seems to characterise their output, the underpinning colouring-book vivid instrumental colours, or the well paired and immediately endearing vocal timbres. But their perfectly sharpened ears for creating simple, organic and attractively arched hooks bolster this musically unpretentious quality most.
This debut E.P shows signs of a band already developing a winning, individual 'sound' and fine-tuning a promising balance between creative imagination and fresh-faced simplicity.