There’s almost no doubt that the quintet of roused Australian youngsters that make up Boy & Bear are comprehensively nice. They seem like the band that thanks their fans after every song and hands out a free EP at the merch table – the version I have of their debut, ‘Moonfire’ comes with five bonus live-recorded tracks, seemingly because they didn’t know what else to do with them. A sound as gorgeously commonplace as there’s doesn’t respond well to adversity, they’ve done the right thing by making sure the world knows they mean no harm.

Choral, sunbeam harmonies, earthy guitars and fairytale drums, you’ve heard this before, and the Fleet Foxes line is easily drawn. This type of impeccably produced rock-folk hybridization has been clogging the Starbucks-core for years – to be frank, Boy & Bear don’t have enough of an identity to stand out under increased scrutiny. Sure, ‘Lordy May’ swoons in high-stakes revelry, and ‘Milk & Shakes’ is jaunty in all the profitable ways, and the gentle island melody to ‘The Village’ brings an earnest smile – but it’s not meant to last. Honestly I’m fine with that, Boy & Bear aren’t making music to impress music critics – it’s for the fans, and the fans will be happy.

By Luke Winkie

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