ELIZA And The Bear released their self-titled debut album earlier today. Quays News entertainmnret reporter Will Whitby has had a listen…
I first heard Eliza And The Bear three years ago whilst I was working at Liverpool Sound City as a steward. I wasn’t allowed to leave my spot but broke the rules to peak through the windows at Mello Mello to see the London group perform – from hearing ‘It Gets Cold’ I knew I had a found a gem. Seeing them perform from the small café at Sound City to supporting Paramore at Manchester Arena these indie poppers have certainly been around the houses. Three years later and they have finally released their self-titled debut and as a fan I am chuffed with the outcome.
From the get go we are treated to what Eliza And The Bear are all about – walls of happy and catchy melodies with a healthy dollop of brass and piano. The opener ‘Friends’ has gained massive praise nationally getting regular plays on both Radio X and Radio 1. The whimsical track commands you to appreciate the ones you love and get you on your feet. The track sets a tone for the rest of the album and instantly puts a smile on the listeners face.
Speaking to Quays News back in October vocalist, James Kellegher, said: “It’s almost like a little scrapbook of what we’ve all done since we started. “Friends” is on their and that’s day one.”
With guitarist, Martin Dukelow, adding: “I feel with all the releases we’ve done over the years we’ve definitely developed an Eliza sound, not a one trick pony but it’s definitely a recognisable sound. When the album comes out people can see us more as 3D. You want an album that flows not just twelve tracks of uplifting sexy pop.”
Excited that @elizaandthebear's album is finally out, been a long time coming! Amazing ❤️
— Grace (@gracegoestogigs) April 8, 2016
The uplifting sexy pop is contrasted particularly with the track ‘Cruel’. Diverting from the usual cheery licks it is an intimate ballad with Kellegher’s youthful and angelic voice carrying it through. A classic lament apologising for not “giving you all the world” with a choral crescendo to finish. Here is one to have a regret filled walk home alone to.
Benefitting massively from signing on to major record label, Capitol, the group headed out to Nashville, USA, to record the album with, Jaquire King, who has worked with the likes of Kings Of Leon and Of Monsters & Men.
— not a grown up (@ruthyT76) April 8, 2016
King added his expertise to heavier songs like ‘Make It On My Own’ and ‘Oxygen’ which gave them an edgier feel to add some grit to the otherwise happy-go-lucky debut.
But happy-go-lucky is what Eliza And The Bear do best. Tracks ‘Lion’s Heart’, ‘Light It Up’ and ‘Upon The North’ are anthems to play in the summer having good times with good people. Heavily led throughout by cheeky guitar licks and with the addition of the cheery trumpets it’s hard not to enjoy listening to EATB.
@elizaandthebear Loving your new album!✌?️
— Gracie?? (@gracierichards_) April 8, 2016
Having a trumpeter and a prominent keyboard player in the band is something they use to their strengths. The constant presence of bright piano keeps a driving force to songs that simple guitar, bass and drums can’t quite manage. Alongside the brass, the band has created a signature and refreshing sound that differs from the usually predictable and monotonous indie pop genre.
‘Talk’ with its electro influence gives a representation of indie pop at its most basic, barest and beautiful. Simple song writing that pays off with an addictive chorus that stays with the listener and is cracking live.
Brilliant debut album from @elizaandthebear listened to it 3 times so far & each time it gets better!
— JC (@Jonnyboy81) April 8, 2016
Best track on the album goes to one of their earliest tracks and song that got me hooked, ‘It Gets Cold’. The catchy pop belter with even more catchy riff is the epitome of sunny day music. For fans of early Vampire Weekend or Foster The People the summer song is a perfect party in the sun soundtrack. The stripped back bridge has proved a peak in the bands live shows with a crowd pleasing sing along a staple in its performances.
This album has been a long time coming and proof that touring endlessly and being nice guys pays off. The five-piece have lit up the torch on one of the hottest indie pop flames for years.
Reminder: No one in this band is called Eliza.
@elizaandthebear album is fantastic. Really well done. First time in a while I'm so sure about a debut album. Congrats! x
— Oli Williams (@OlixWilliams) April 8, 2016
By Will Whitby