Released – 20th March 2020
Rating – 4/5
Hunter And The Bear are back with their first new music since 2018, and they’ve done it in style. The London-based quartet built up a respectable following with their debut album, Paper Heart, an alternative record that flirted with elements of indie and pop. The new single, Digital Light, progresses from this to a slightly heavier, more organic sound, courtesy of Grammy-nominated producer Romesh Dodangoda (Bring Me The Horizon, Twin Atlantic, Funeral For A Friend). The band makes this progression with ease, and Digital Light shows they are brimming with confidence.
Influence of bands including Twin Atlantic and Funeral For A Friend can be heard, but Hunter And The Bear have enough in their locker to hold their own, with their maturity shining through. Frontman Will Irvine’s voice is versatile and commanding, with his rich tone staying at the forefront throughout. The instrumentation is carefully crafted with intricate guitar and drum parts but creates a truly huge sound. The band used to rehearse in a shipping container – what they’ve created on this song would have ripped the roof off it. Despite having members from across the UK, the band has its origins in Scotland, and the vast open spaces of the Highlands can be felt in the huge expansive sound created – a nod to Irvine’s home.
Digital Light tackles the ever-prevalent subject of society’s increasing reliance on technology. While the world is becoming more digital, Irvine discusses the negative impact this has on people’s lives. From struggling to maintain friendships to the effects on mental health, this reliance on technology is making us forget what is truly important in life. The theme of disconnecting from this online world is extremely fitting, as the Hunter And The Bear manage to do just this, lifting you up and transporting you to your own world to escape for a while.
While the timing of this release is coincidental, as large parts of the world find are finding themselves in lockdown, people are almost solely relying on technology to maintain relationships. The beauty of being able to physically connect with friends will no doubt be missed and is something that should not be taken for granted. Digital Life provides a sobering reminder of this during these unprecedented times and does so wonderfully.
Review by Will Cooper