Message to Bears came into view only recently and courtesy of Her Name is Calla with whom they shared a stage at the wonderful Union Chapel recently for one of that venues excellent free gigs of different bands. Jerome Alexander, aka Message to Bears, is the purveyor of some extremely fine music, tagged ‘electronica’, ‘classical’, ‘folk’ and ‘ambient’ according to his Bandcamp site. Well that must just about cover it all…
The two albums, well one (long) EP enigmatically named EP1 and the album, Departures, go back to 2007 and 2009 respectively and are available to streaming and purchase through the Bandcamp site – and both are more than worth the measly £4 each, so go on and buy them. The next album is in the offing with Mr Alexander tweeting about it just this very day.
There is something rather exquisite about this music, the combination of guitar surrounded by viola, sparse piano, glockenspiel and sundry other instruments, building arresting and durable music. It is perfect as I sit here tonight in a somewhat downhearted and desultory mood but it works equally well as I tend my onions in the spring sunshine. The quiet, calm is emotional but not miserable, peaceful but not soporific. Each play takes you somewhere further into the tracks. Of course there is an undeniable orchestral feel to the whole but equally, contemporary references are made to bands like Explosions in the Sky, the quieter tracts of Mono and the like.
All in all a massively satisfying collection of music from a talented young blighter. Live he apparently plays with some splendid chums, Adam Harvey-Alan James (guitar),Sam Lund-Harket (bass), Laura Ashby (viola) and Jack Olchawski (percussion, harmonium). They have some dates up and coming, often around their Oxford base and I suspect they would be well worth a gander live whilst we wait the new album.