Album Review: Boy & Bear – Limit of Love (2015 LP)

Boy & Bear are river-boat slow, that kind of deceptively smooth-flowing pace that looks calm and languid on the surface but is moving quite fast underneath. The Sydney folk-rock quintet’s third album Limit Of Love cruises along easily, keeping a lively enough pace that it doesn’t sink into the doldrums. It is, in short, a solid and well played third album from a band that has garnered some well-deserved attention over the course of their career.

Boy & Bear play indie folk-rock. If you have two ears and a penchant for Triple J 1) your loved ones are advised to turn you into ASIO, and 2) you’ve you’ve heard this sort of stuff before. It’s a very, very popular genre in this country right now. Thankfully, despite the saturation, Australia is also full of very talented artists.

Limit Of Love was apparently recorded almost entirely live-to-tape, which is impressive given the clean, precise sound quality (kudos to producer Ethan Johns). That clarity of sound especially showcases the talent and intricacies of the instrumental musicianship on the album. Jonathan Hart, Boy & Bear’s resident multi-instrumentalist, adds a really interesting texture to the album especially. Limit Of Love features Hart on keyboard, banjo, and mandolin among other things, which really add depth and colour to the album.

The lead single, ‘Walk The Wire’, is a good, tense little song that includes the line ‘there’s heaven in a folk song’ which, sometimes, is pretty true – and Boy & Bear wouldn’t write the music they do if they didn’t believe it.

The tone of the album is quite moody and obfuscated – ‘Showdown is insistent, the low drums and bass sounding almost malevolent up against the choral sections and the highlights of steel guitar. It makes for an interesting album, the emotions a mix of dark and light that bring each other out well. It has texture and pulse. Limit Of Love is a solid, layered album that’s well worth checking out for fans of Australian music of all ages and genres.

Review Score: 7.8 out of 10

Limit Of Love is available now through Universal Records.