Album Review: Bear Cavalry – Puryss

We as music consumers have our favourite labels – mostly because when you see a certain label’s release, even if you have never heard the band before, you have a good idea of what’s in store. If you see the Deathwish label, for instance, you’re prepared that the music is most likely to be skull-crushingly heavy. If you see a Fat Wreck Chords label, you know that you’re in for some riotous and rollicking three-chord punk. Oxford’s Alcopop! Records have a reputation for releasing fun, eclectic and accessible indie-pop, usually on a fairly mathy slant – but even for them, this EP from Bear Cavalry is a little leftfield.

The four-piece, hailing from the sleepy town of Gosport, Hampshire, play a groove-driven style that falls somewhere between Vampire Weekend, Tall Ships and Everything Everything, a constantly surprising and interesting piece that provides for head-nod inducing rhythms in spadefuls. This four-tracker, following on from last years ‘Maple Trails’ EP, is a wee stunner, brimming with sumptuous basslines and constantly shuffling style and approach, always remaining fresh. ‘Aubrey Plaza’, named for the actress who portrays April in NBC sitcom “Parks And Reaction”, is a record highlight, from the Talking Heads-esque synth lilts underlying the verse to the soaring, mammoth chorus, this song is an absolute gem.

‘Trail Dust And Good Water’ is another banger; the early part of the song has an almost seductive quality, as horns and synths lay over a hooky bassline, like a hazy, smoky slowdance in a John Hughes movie, leading to an incendiary finish that sends this EP off on a mightily high note.

A surprising record, and one definitely not expected to emerge from Alcopop!’s fine roster, ‘Puryss’ constantly and consistently delivers in a style that simultaneously feels comfortably familiar and brand new, and is a fantastic introduction to a band that seem destined to worm their way into a wider consciousness sooner rather than later.

4.5/5.

‘Puryss’ by Bear Cavalry is out on the 5th November through Alcopop! Records.

Bear Cavalry links: Facebook|Twitter|Bandcamp

Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)

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