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Eliza and the Bear: Eliza and the Bear

Album Notes

Named after a collection of poems by Eleanor Rees and not after bandmembers, bearded or otherwise, the nevertheless mostly bearded English quintet Eliza and the Bear's style is rooted in the celebratory indie folk of early Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men. The group's preference for brass, electric guitars, and keyboards slicken the sound, while brisk tempos, bouncy grooves, and group vocals retain the movement's enthusiasm on their self-titled debut. The dance-kindling "Where Have You Been" and "Light It Up" are typical of what turns out to be the album's persistently exuberant character. The latter's clicking and stomping percussion and bright, anthemic chorus set a primary goal of uplifting, with lyrics that conspire: "When the weight of the world falls on your shoulders, light it up, up, up." A more serious tone is presented on songs like "Oxygen" and "Make It on My Own," which challenges habits of bad behavior. Its minor chords and angsty demeanor offer some contrast to the majority of the zealous LP, as does the strings- and shimmering guitar-enhanced ballad "Cruel," which has lead singer James Kellegher conveying regret and solemnity through performance as well as lyrics. Listeners should note that there's a hidden track within the closer, "I'm on Your Side," that's probably the album's most demure -- relatively speaking. ~ Marcy Donelson


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