Finding yourself on stage at Reading & Leeds festival after just a handful of gigs may be a slightly daunting task but for Bear Driver it was just the first step of an incredible year. The band, who took their name from the constellation Bootes meaning the Bear Driver or herdsman, radiate charisma and their vibrant arrangements exude ambition and enthusiasm. For an outfit only just finding their feet, Bear Driver’s debut single ‘Wolves’ is nothing short of astonishing.
Incandescent and instantly infectious ‘Wolves’ screams youthful exuberance and vitality. Bear Driver’s unique take on the alt-rock genre transcends the generic indie tag so often pinned to a guitar based act to form a jagged and playful pop song like no other. Mandolins, accordions and three part harmonies aplenty, the track will undoubtedly send pulses racing and hearts aquiver this summer.
Initially formed in Leeds by founding members Harry and Oli, the band would describe themselves as more of a collective. The creative bunch came together in a thriving artistic scene which has helped them create their own microcosm of up and coming talent. “In keeping with Leeds’ strong DIY ethic we put together Adventure Club (www.adventureclubrecords.com), our own label as a way of grouping together a lot of the bands and artists we played with, many of whom I recorded and produced.” says Oli.
From their first gig as a two-piece backed by an ipod, they have grown in both number and intent. Their colourful and creative approach to their music has found them being compared to other equally inventive collectives such as Broken Social Scene and Arcade Fire. Now based in London, the arty ensemble ticks all the right boxes to become this summer’s success story.
In 2009, their home recorded debut EP ‘Paws & Claws’ impressed the likes of Steve Lamacq, Huw Stephens, John Kennedy and Tom Robinson which in turn found the band filling support slots with (among others) Bombay Bicycle Club, Everything Everything and Goldheart Assembly. Their ascension from the basement to the airwaves has seen the band’s adventurous and chaotic live set develop from a rough diamond into a precision cut thing of beauty.
Their track ‘Mind Attack’ appeared on a compilation by Leeds based ‘Dance To The Radio’ who know a thing or two about spotting the best new talent around (Chapman Family, The Sunshine Underground and Pigeon Detectives to name but a few).
Bear Driver are: Oli(vocals/ guitar), Harry (vocals/ guitar/ accordian), Cassie (vocals), Joseph (Keyboards/ melodica), Jon (bass) and Rich (Drums).