Moonfire from Boy and Bear sounds like the folk-pop baby of Mumford and Sons and Coldplay. At once upbeat, chilled out, happy and melancholy, it’s the perfect neutral mix of emotions for any time and place. There’s a little of the familiar 90s sound from groups like Train, especially in songs like Golden Jubilee. Songs like these are musical chameleons that fit any mood or setting. The downside is that the album gets a little bland in places. This, however, is especially perfect for a Sunday morning.
When a song hits a slow point, there’s a banjo riff to answer it. “All that I wanted is to be along” is followed up by a ska-influenced track that sings, “Nanana, yeah…”. Boy and Bear never get too down or too up. There’s a certain laid-back, laissez-faire attitude implied in the album’s chill balance. It’s poetic and unlyrical, like they could have tried harder but decided to just play. The best part of the album is the sense that it is totally uncontrived. These were just a few honest, not too overthought expressions.
The album’s genuineness makes the gloomier songs all the more poignant. The song Beach with the refrain, “I’m shedding off my innocence,” hits a chord because the sincerity comes through. It isn’t overwrought and plays like a confidence. Boy and Bear stays in the realm of the relatable and that makes it all the better to listen to.
Boy and Bear wasn’t trying to hard to do anything on Moonfire. Or if they were, they pulled it off well. This is one of those rare instances where it sounds like they just went in and played what they were feeling. Of course it came out with noticeable influences, but they don’t sound too purposeful. This is what music should be: an organic expression. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, just real.