MAN MEETS BEAR - Starfishes

Man Meets Bear - Starfishes

9 songs
35:09 minutes
***** ***
Uur Audiovisual

Bandpage

After twenty-plus albums, it is hard to keep track of all the different things Canadian artist Soren Brothers aka Man Meets Bear has done during the course of this millennium. And yet lately, he rarely releases more than one album per year, giving him perhaps more distance to his previous work, so that he can evolve his music even further. Starfishes is the fifth time I spend time with one of Brothersí albums, and while there have always been differences from work to work, Starfishes seems to be so far his more compact and therefore most accessible one.

As a matter of fact, Starfishes is still a mostly improvised journey, and yet more than half of the tracks stay under three minutes, so that the artist rarely gets lost in never ending reveries. Some pieces are a bit longer though, like for instance the opener Chronotopes, which sounds like a rumination on early Pink Floyd. The guitar comes with heavy effects, giving the percussion-less piece a spacy, hypnotic quality. The vocals are hushed and subdued, hinting only at what the lyrics could be about. On With The Grain, we get a low key song played on a shy acoustic guitar, with the vocals once again remaining discreetly in the background. Valence Shell is more acoustic guitar, this time in a duet with a harmonium, and it is at the very latest here where you canít but discover the pastoral nature of the music. Argan Harvest is even something like a folk song with a pop melody, although the repeated chorus is rooted more in the trippy Seventies than in modern times. The album continues in that strange, mysterious ways until it ends with the seven-minute World Mind Sports Games, a successful attempt at organic kraut rock via experimental lo-fi folk.

Sometimes thirty-five minutes is just too short for an album, but in the case of Starfishes, it is the perfect amount of music. The improvised nature of the music hides beautifully moving folk songs beneath its troubled surface. Soren Brothers has once again managed to conjure the great, wild nature of the majestic Northern American landscape he has come from. Man Meets Bear has once again delivered a shamanic journey that will not fail to enthral you.

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