Bear's Den - 'Christmas, Hopefully'

7/10

While the band have been ones to dabble in the Christmas release in the past, unveiling the standalone single 'Berlin' in 2016 as well as last year's EP 'Only Son of The Falling Snow', Bear's Den felt it necessary to revive their seldom-seen tradition for 2020 in order to reflect on the year we have all had. While not necessarily a more festive and cheery accompaniment to their earlier work, they return with 'Christmas, Hopefully', a three-track offering that takes a retrospective look at our lives right now and sums up the relief that many may feel is long deserved.

While not strictly an anti-Christmas EP, 'Christmas, Hopefully' focuses itself more on the human stories that will shape this most unique of festive seasons. The title-track looks to reflect on the difficulties many will have when it comes to seeing their love-ones this year, while 'Favourite Patient' is based around the band's Andrew Davie's fiancé, a doctor working on the frontline who has been seriously affected by the pandemic. These more intimate and relatable narratives not only help us relate more to this release, but show us just how fragile we have become over the last year, and give us a sense of hope towards what is to come.

It certainly makes for a powerful listen, but 'Christmas, Hopefully' is almost the perfect response to the situation we have found ourselves in. Bear's Den have always been fantastic at injecting emotion into their music, and there is something some beautiful and genuine about their performance here that we almost feel more connected to them as people rather than just musicians.

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