Red Earth & Pouring Rain was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales with the band’s long term producer Ian Grimble, in sessions following a six week european and UK tour that had culminated in an ecstatically received sold-out show at The Roundhouse last October. This capped a year’s campaigning for Islands that saw the group take their evocative, passionate music to audiences across the UK, Europe, America, Canada and Australia and rack up legions of fans in the process.
Following the amicable departure of guitarist Joey Haynes, Bear’s Den now comprises a six piece touring unit built around a nucleus of singer-guitarist Andrew Davie and multi-instrumentalist Kev Jones. And it’s how all of their experiences – personal and as a band, both the ups and the downs – have affected them that informs their extraordinary second album.
Inspired by - among other things - the paintings of Edward Hopper, the novels of Raymond Carver and film director Robert Altman’s Short Cuts - Red Earth & Pouring Rain is both erudite and intensely personal, defying trends and easy labeling.
Musically, it also sees a startling progression. Because while the band’s folk roots are still evident, they now come cloaked in the lush alchemy of ‘70’s and ‘80’s FM rock: Fleetwood Mac, The Eagles, and in particular, the nocturnal ambience of Bruce Springsteen’s Darkness On The Edge Of Town. More contemporary influence, meanwhile, comes from artists including The National and Sufjan Stevens.
Brutally honest, brilliantly realised and spiritually uplifting, Red Earth & Pouring Rain is a masterful album from a band confident enough leave their past in the rear view mirror.