Message to Bears, “Departures”

Sometimes, we need a break.  As someone who is nearing the end/seventeenth fresh start of his Ph.D. thesis, this statement applies to me most of the time.  In moments like this, I like to turn to bands like The Album Leaf, Sigur Rós, and similar masters of ambiance.  But every now and again, I need something new to help me take the edge off.  Enter: Message to Bears.

Message to Bears is actually Jerome Alexander, a multi-instrumentalist and songwriter from the U.K.  Those instruments, myspace tells us, are “acoustic guitars, pianos, glockenspiels, samples, drums, loop pedal, melodica, toy piano, harmonium, [and] voice.”  The result is a collection of beautiful, gentle acoustic songs that curl around you like a misty, English twilight (as I am currently experiencing one, I stand by this claim as 100% true).  The melodies evoke a sense of wistful nostalgia, and remind me of staring into a deep, night sky.

Taken from the debut album Departures (Out on Dead Pilot Records and iTunes), “At the Top of this Hill” and “Running through Woodland” evoke dramatic, melancholic landscapes.  The former, through children’s voices, recalls long-gone days of youthful innocence, and the latter conjures a forest crowned by grey clouds.  Absolutely lovely, and both very effective in their own way.

I’ve also included “Unfold” from EP 1.  To me, tracks likes this make me feel that I’ve stumbled into someone’s diary.  Even wordless, they are clearly attempts to capture very particular moods and impressions.  Just the sort of thing to help you relax by replacing your troubled thoughts with other, softer ones.  Come on in and have a listen, won’t you?

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