Bearpark charms with Wilderness End

Bearpark - Wilderness EndCasually charming, melodically sound and with a message that speaks directly to your heart; this is the kind of artist whose work sticks with you through the years. We found just such a musician in Edinburgh-via-London singer songwriter Kat Flint, who released her one and only full length, Dirty Birds, back in 2007. Bearpark was sold to us in connection with Flint, who contributes backing vocals to this, the band’s debut album, Wilderness End. In fact the project boasts Nick Hirst at the helm; Flint’s musical and real life partner, and sometime-member of Scottish folk purveyors Revere.

It has to be said, if Flint’s vocals really do feature here, they’re rather low in the mix. When backing vocals are clearly heard they belong to a man - and though no reference material exists to support our theory – it seems likely Hirst has prioritised layering his own voice over input from anyone else. This shouldn’t really matter – it is his album, after all – it’s just that Wilderness End is not what we were expecting with both Flint and Revere’s name in tow.

The album opens with lead single “Boxers”, a straightforward yet pleasant fireside ballad to love lost and worn. It’s exactly what you would expect of a musician whose weapon of choice is an acoustic guitar, though perhaps lacking when you consider said man has also created delicate, beautiful harmonies under the guise of Revere.

Much of Wilderness End continues along a similar path, with echoes of Frightened Rabbit style grit thrown in for good measure on tracks such as “All Fall By”, “Crows” and “Little Black Holes”. Fortunately it never truly descends into faux "nu" folk/Mumford & Sons territory, which is could very easily do. Instead if anyone’s going to draw comparison to a folk-inspire artist, it better be Damien O, or it’d be wrong.

There are beautiful moments on Wilderness End, demonstrated by standout track “Battle Hymn for the Republic”. A sprawling, atmospheric charge but in slow pace, I can only imagine it’s absolutely epic when performed live, and it hints at a man quite capable of writing something none of us can even conceive. Unfortunately such truly unique moments are few and far between on Wilderness End. This is the sound of a well versed musician who refuses to sell out and 'go commercial', but has perhaps rested on his heels a little too long to do something outstanding.

Release: 30th October 2015, Albino

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