Friday, October 23, 2015

EP Review :: Cat Bear Tree - Settled In Our Hearts

Cat Bear Tree

Settled In Our Hearts

October 23 2015


Words: Dave Beech

It's somewhat fitting that first track on Cat Bear Tree's latest EP is called 'Adult'. Having come a long way since the DIY recordings of their debut back in 2013, 'Settled In Our Hearts', and indeed the track that opens it, is the sound of a band having truly found their feet, completed the maturing process hinted at on last year's 'Spaces In Between' and as such, allowed their sound to become fully-realised in the process.

As a result of this, Cat Bear Tree have crafted what's arguably their most refined and introspective release to date. From the spiky post-punk of 'In Actual Fact' to the pop pretence of the aforementioned 'Adult' (its glossy veneer hiding lyrics loaded with self-doubt), it seems every aspect of 'Settled In Our Hearts' has been sharpened whilst simultaneously seeing the band at their most diverse-sounding yet.

Of course, in such polishing much of the DIY sensibility the band had in swathes has been swapped out in favour of the sleeker production. And whilst some may argue that in doing so the band have lost some of their inherent charm, when the culmination of such choices results in songs like album closer 'Relationship', such complaints matter not.

“I'm ready to give your things back/I'm ready to say I'm single," sings Zoe Konez. There's no animosity in the lyrics, just indifference. Fortunately the track itself is far from indifferent. Waves of vocal reverb and shimmering guitars provide an otherworldly quality; the occasional group shouts perfectly executed, the harmonies nothing short of exquisite. Bringing to mind artists as diverse as The Joy Formidable and Jimmy Eat World, it's difficult to believe that this is the same band that released 'Let's Share Hearts' just two years ago. Not to diminish their debut any, not by a long shot. But if that record was the awkward teen, then 'Settled In Our Hearts' is the confident twenty-something, and 'Relationship', its absolute crowning point.

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