MAN MEETS BEAR - Huronian Cadence

Man Meets Bear - Huronian Cadence

16 songs
47:33 minutes
***** ***


It’s been nearly a year since Soren Brothers released a record. This would be no time at all for your regular artist, but the Canadian ecological biologist is usually quicker than this. So why did we have to wait so long for his nineteenth album Huronian Cadence? Possibly because Soren Brothers might have discovered that it pays to work on the songwriting instead of leaving most of the stuff to chance. His second to last album Buffalo Comets was a first step into that direction, but the following Waagaaskingaa was once again freer in form. Huronian Cadence tries to find the middle ground between those two albums, and it works quite great actually.

Man Meets Bear is basically a solo project, although David Dunnett provided drum samples for four songs, and Experimental Housewife a drone on the title track. The overall sound is very lo-fi, but so full of variety that the three-quarters of an hour become a downright discovery of musical treasures. The opener Mono Cliffs is a piece played on acoustic guitar, with wailing vocals lurking in the back, and some melodica to add a glowing warmth. Pichi has more of a song structure, with real vocals this time, that are located somewhere between mellow indie rock and Americana. Gizhne Minidoo comes with drums and has therefore a much fuller sound, which works also very well for Man Meets Bear. The electric guitar and the organ give the piece a very psychedelic feeling. Soren Brothers’ songwriting skills are best showcased on the mellow Dry Leaves Moon, a singer/songwriter track that reminds me of Nick Drake and Archer Prewitt. The same can be said for What Lies Below, which adds even a dramatic early Seventies Peter Hammill touch. The album’s first single Lucan starts like a bouncy piece of Americana before all hell breaks loose quite soon enough to turn this previously happy piece of music into a droning inferno! That was an unexpected yet pleasant surprise.

I won’t go into each and every song on the album, but Man Meets Bear have once again delivered on all fronts. Not only do they master the formalities of lo-fi music, but have improved their songwriting skills and taken care to add enough variety in order to make Huronian Cadence the most accessible and least predictable entry in the project’s vast body of work. Fans of underground lo-fi aesthetics with a knack for psychedelia, Americana and indie rock will have something to feast on.

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