Now and then I’ll come across a band that has me transfixed. The Bear Hunt are one of those bands and I had the pleasure of seeing them last Thursday night, along with Mallory Vanetti and The Buzzrays at The Zoo. There was a truly surreal ambience about the place, and a lot of this could be attributed to the myriad of different guitar sounds and vocals produced by each of the bands. There were no “carbon copy” bands on show that evening.
The Bear Hunt are Bec Wilson (guitar, vocals), Lloyd Martin (guitar), Linda Dark (drums) and Michael Fedrick (bass). They carry themselves with a “keepin’ it real” attitude and write songs that are reflective of living in a small sleepy hazy town (two of the members hail from North QLD I believe). Citing themselves as a Garage band, their influences range from PJ Harvey, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Adalita Srsen and Kyuss, to name a few. I can see why I relate to their sound so much because I adore those bands and musicians. And yet this band are one of those few who have somehow forged their own unique sound, without mimicking their musical influences. It’s a tough thing to do, especially in this day and age where the industry wants us all to sound a specific way. The Bear Hunt have shared the stage with the likes of Lanie Lane and The Medics, and have released an EP called “Can’t Save You” which showcases some diverse sounds.
Their music takes me back to the late 80’s and early 90’s. When I listen to songs like Stars and Can’t Save You there is a sensation of being embraced by warm lights in a dark room, which is also reminiscent of the Psychedelic era. It is contemplative raw music, unfettered and simple with occasional Blues and Country tangents intermingled (listen to their song Angry Country). The guitars (both rhythm and lead) are warm and fuzzed out; as the lead guitar riffs go from a steel twang to a soaring jetliner solo, the rhythm guitar holds a bold and steady backing. The bass guitar and drums are effortlessly attuned to each other – a bit Fleetwood Mac, if you need a comparison. This band has beautifully imperfect symmetry.
I don’t usually like to ruminate on gender roles in music, but it is oh so satisfying to see female musicians (such as Bec and Linda) who carry themselves with such a laid back confidence. Bec uses her brilliant natural pitch and tone rather than submitting to the token breathy and soft vocals so popular among women now. That’s always been a thorn in my side. There is nothing wrong with women using their natural voices whatsoever. There is also nothing wrong with letting your music do the talking for you. I guess that’s why I was so captivated by The Bear Hunt. Four musicians from Brisbane with so much potential, I can taste it. Go give them a listen!