Review Summary: The quick description of TBR's sound would simply be 'a haunting version of the late great Elliott Smith'. But this album requires and deserves much more than a quick description.
As an album released 5 months ago, Firewood by The Bear Romantic has been doing rather poorly. On this present day, most songs have less than 500 views on youtube and there's no trace of TBR on Wikipedia or much anywhere other than his own websites. Therefore, The Bear Romantic is still quite a big mystery. If there were any previous EPs or albums released before Firewood there's certainly no mention of such on the very few places he can be found (Myspace and Facebook pretty much). So I'll assume this is TBR's debut album and quite possibly his debut release too.
The quick description of TBR's sound would simply be 'a haunting version of the late great Elliott Smith'. But this album requires and deserves much more than a quick description. The acoustics are beautiful and classical enough you make you feel like you could fall asleep whilst the vocals are haunting enough not to allow you to. Despite never mentioning them as influences; TBR’s vocals are reminiscent of Elliott Smith or Angus Stone, injected with an empty hall-like reverb. In fact, you’d be forgiven for thinking that maybe, depending on which track you listen to first, the vocalist is female, something I myself am still debating due to tracks like Sparrows
and The End
Firewood is all acoustic, the acoustic guitar sharing just as much spotlight as the haunting vocals. The acoustic guitar has a classical touch to it, whilst remaining very simple, at times perfectly complimenting the vocals and at other times standing out and catching your ear. Other instruments make occasional appearances such as drums, which usually adopt a tribal sound to them, and piano but they are usually uncommon enough to make them seem fresh each time they appear. The drums add great atmosphere and intensity to the songs and sometimes, such as in Kings
, give the song an irresistable catchiness.
Is this an album that will change music should it become more mainstream" Unlikely. Some, those who aren't into atmospheric acoustic songs, might even find this boring. But this more than deserves a listen from any and every fan of acoustic, Elliott Smith, Angus and Julia Stone and indie fans. I believe this shows great promise from an almost completely unknown artist and can’t wait for new material already.