This article contains opinion.
Boy & Bear is a five-man indie-folk band from Australia.
They took a hiatus that spanned several years due to the chronic health condition of lead vocalist David Hosking. The band members continued writing music during this time in hopes that Dave’s health would return enough to record and tour.
The band finally released its fourth studio album, “Suck On Light,” as well as a 15-minute-long documentary on YouTube.
The documentary details the very odd health condition Hosking has and the somewhat strange solution to it that he has to now live with.
However, despite these hardships, the members have only grown closer with one another and describe themselves as a family.
The album itself has some interesting themes and is sonically very nice. It doesn’t stand out from the get-go but has a pleasant atmosphere that they use to talk about some interesting ideas. This album in particular tackles some darker themes, somewhat due to the hardship faced by members of the group.
The first song on the album is “Work Of Art,” a slow track carried by the fragmented instrumentation and the vocals at the beginning before ramping up into a fuller and grander track.
It’s a good start and a love song that explores personal flaws and the importance of the subject of his affection. Most of the band vocally contributes, and it’s apparent and a positive on this song.
This leads into the second and titular track “Suck On Light.” The song is a very sunny-sounding song that stresses the upward motion the band made by even recording this album.
The personal significance is clear, and the theme of this song is moving through hardships. The concept of “sucking on light” is a poetic way of saying to focus on good. The lyricism on this album isn’t incredibly ambitious or complex, but to its merit, the messages are positive and personal.
The third song on this album, “Bird of Paradise,” is probably my favorite. The vocal performance is laid back and deeper while the instrumentation gives it a calm energy.
The message of “Bird of Paradise” is a peaceful allusion to faith and being restored.
The most interesting track on the record is probably “Bad People,” a song that explores what causes people to do harsh things and be considered “bad.”
The lyrics talk about pain and how hurt people carry that and give it to other people, causing them to do bad things. It almost gives mercy to bad people and understands the hurt behind the actions. The chorus says repeatedly “It could have been you or I.” I find the understanding and humble narrative to be a stand-out on the album.
The song “Rocking Horse” is another interesting track from the album that takes a more cosmic perspective. The landscape is vast and universal and about the search for peace in an almost abstract lens. This song is somewhat too long though and gets stale, which hurts its replay value.
Ultimately, this album is good, but not great. It is never weak but doesn’t do enough to stand out on the large landscape of music.
I think I will revisit a few songs from this album, and I enjoyed putting it on as a calming soundtrack for background noise.