At first listen, Eliza and the Bear’s eponymous debut album is emblematic of a generic indie-folk, characterised by rousing choruses and vaguely wistful lyrics: the culmination of five years’ craft and effort, the poetry-inspired whimsy of the band’s name doesn’t instantly translate to its popular indie sound. And perhaps too much is made of the fact that they’re a group of five male friends, with no Elizas in sight.
But Eliza and the Bear are engaging nonetheless: populated with songs that are infectiously upbeat and practically demand heartfelt singalongs, it melodic assortments undoubtedly entertain even if they’re all a bit, well, similar.
Comparable to the likes of Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men, lead song ‘Friends’ encapsulates the band’s exuberant sound – and indicates positive things to come – whilst following track ‘Where Have You Been’ shimmers with summery excitement. ‘Lion’s Heart’ and ‘Upon the North’, with their particularly stirring choruses and catchy beats, stand out; although the middle of the album – especially the duller ‘Light Me Up’ – relies too heavily upon the staider aspects of the genre, their debut is nevertheless promising.