Fade Into Blue by Spirit of the Bear
Review by Sophie Minello & Anthony Sennett
On November 24, Spirit of the Bear is gifting the world of music with their sophomore album, Fade Into Blue. What Spirit of the Bear presents to listeners is something entirely original, crafted with obvious passion and care. Again, the band finds a way to create something that doesn’t sound like anything you’ve heard before, immediately distinguishing themselves as something important and worth listening to. Each of their songs creates a mood and throws you into the narrative that frontman James Harker is singing about, making you feel like you’re flipping through pages of a story book.
The album Fade into Blue fades into your ears with the opening track, Dying / Lying (a very clever way to begin an album of such title). The song starts off distant, with guitar slides that make you feel like you’re in a dream, but slowly, the drum beat creeps into your ears. The soft beginning is calming, but as the music gets louder, you’re suddenly brought to an awareness of the things around you. Dying / Lying is a strong opening track to reel in a listener, preparing them for the rest of the journey of the album.
A Year Ago was the final pre-album release to excite listeners about the album, and it did just that. The groovy introduction carries that distinct Spirit of the Bear sound. This song is about getting over heartbreak in a manipulative situation, “You left me in the dark trusting my eyes / but still somehow the fault is always mine.” The song emulates its message through the structured chaos in the composition of notes and instruments.
Why Can’t We Talk About It, the third track, hits you right away with its unique sound. James’ soft vocals begin immediately, accompanied by dreamy keyboards and synth sounds. It’s hard not to bop your head along.
White Flag has so many interesting guitar licks and all the music shifts glide together very well. The song is really beautiful and intricate while discussing a failing relationship. It reaches a great emotional peak towards the end, and carries a cathartic feeling with it.
Lacuna is a soundtrack song. It shows off Spirit of the Bear’s impressive melody creating skills and James’ buttery falsetto. This is a track I distinctly remember hearing live. You know when you’re not paying much attention during a live show, listening but also slightly zoned out? You’re tired and your feet hurt, but suddenly you hear something so infatuating you stare in awe and forget your discomforts? That was this song for me, and one of my personal favorite off the album.
Open Eyes pairs a heavier instrumental with a smoother vocal performance, making for a dynamic track. It also includes a very interesting outro that smoothly winds down the groovy track.
Run My Mouth was the first released single of the album, which left me speechless. It’s such a good taste of what Spirit of the Bear is all about, with the unique melodies, synth, guitar, and bass composition. If you want to know more about how much I love this song, I wrote some words about it when it was released, which you can find here.
Folded pulls you in. The intro feels like waking up slowly as specks of sunlight shine through your curtains. The vocals in this song have an auto-tuned, electronic quality that took me by surprise. At first I wasn’t a fan of it, but I’m sure it will end up growing on me.
In Smoke begins with a soft and intricate acoustic guitar. The softness was unexpected, as many of the other songs contain intricate compositions of many different sounds as opposed to a simple guitar. However, the track fits in just right. The song feels heavy with the lyrics, “I want to go home / How could you do this to me? / Feels like it’s a dream / I’m praying it’s a dream.” It sounds like the narrative to a painful past experience. The ending especially feels haunting with the distorted sounds ringing through.
Interludes automatically add a new depth to an album, and this one does just that. It’s like the introduction into the final song on the album, preparing you for the ending of the journey.
Life Like Paper slyly jumps in as interlude fades out. The violin brings out more depth in the song, making it feel important and infinite in a way. At first, this song sounds quite down, but as it carries on the violins get louder and James’ voice gets more hopeful as he belts out “Our paper life, it won’t last long / But when you’re here I’m already gone." Maybe our paper lives aren’t such a bad thing.