Something a little different for you all today – I wanted to share with you some gorgeous new music!
Brownbear is a Glasgow-based musical collective led by singer/songwriter – and my old uni pal – Matt Hickman. I’ve been following Matt’s progress since we graduated almost three years ago and, while things may have changed (the band’s name and lineup for starters!), things have gone from strength to strength for this exciting band.
After they released their debut single back in May 2014, Brownbear have secured national radio exposure, sold out headline gigs and supported indie legends The Libertines and The View across venues including the iconic Barrowlands Ballroom and Hyde Park. You also might have seen them storming their set at T in the Park the same year, securing the most online views of any band playing the festival that year, beating the likes of Biffy Clyro and the Arctic Monkeys. Not bad, right?
Since then, the band have been incredibly busy, working hard on their debut album. The forthcoming self-titled release will be out later this year, but Brownbear have just released the first single – the sparkly, jangly ‘Wandering Eyes’.
On first listen, I absolutely loved the song; it reminded me of indie of days gone by, when things were much sunnier, less moody and altogether brighter. Acoustic-driven, folksy pop has always been my cup of tea, and this felt like a refreshing dip back into that pool, away from the sulky electro or hyperactive dance beats the charts subject us to.
Don’t let that sunny-side-up melody fool you though; it belies a set of lyrics that open with a burst of fresh optimism, sharing stories and secrets, before things gradually take a turn for the bitter. The lyrics weave tales of jealousy and antipathy, telling the story of a relationship unravelling at the seams and those omnipresent ‘wandering eyes’ at the hear of the issues. Paired with Matt’s raspy vocals, it creates a mesmerising combination. It’s almost Smiths-like in its contradictions, with the melodies and lyrics clashing together wonderfully, leaving you feeling toe-tappingly happy but not sure that you should be.
The video for ‘Wandering Eyes’ is really something special too; directed by award-winning Still Game director Mike Hines, it draws you in and much like the song, offers classic themes with a twist.
‘Wandering Eyes’ is out on digital release now, and if you’re in Scotland, Brownbear are playing a host of shows across the country in February – you can see the full listing here.
Image credit: Murray McMillan