Since their emergence, Boy and Bear have been heralded as Australia’s answer to the ‘good-for-the-soul’ folk of Mumford & Sons. Although this comparison is well-founded, the band’s debut album Moonfire is also reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s brand of melancholy-tinged rock, with a smattering of the Dixie Chick’s early carefree country style. Despite this international pedigree, there’s also a distinctly Australian flavour to Boy & Bear’s output.
A definite highlight of the set is ‘Part Time Believer’. The chorus plays host to luscious vocal harmonies, against a backdrop of pseudo-country chords and guitar lines. Listening to tracks like this, it’s clear that the songs will take on another dimension entirely in a live setting – preferably during the summer festival season.
Clocking in at just over 40 minutes long, the course of the album sees the band alternate between unabashed, all-out-enjoyable high energy tracks, and cuts that are more internally reflective. This is no more obvious when listening to the sure-fire guilty pleasure ‘Golden Jubilee’, which wouldn’t sound out of place at a joyous, if amiably cheesy, bush dance, while the band rose to prominence through their cover of adopted Aussies Crowded House and the classic ‘Fall At Your Feet'.
Though those of the latter category perhaps take a few more plays to sink in, once they do the rewards and diversity of the album become clear. There’s something for just about everybody in here; the album’s appeal lies in its mixture between bombastic energy and more contemplative space.