Verdict: 3 / 5
Amidst a squall of overexposed pop acts shines a light in the form of Brandi Carlile.
‘Bear Creek’ mixes bluegrass and country/folk via songs like ‘Hard Way Home’ and ‘Keep Your Heart Young’ both of which offer a rewarding listening experience. ‘Raise Hell’ is a moody, country rock hoedown with great guitar licks and arrangements. ‘Save Part of Yourself’ is a sweet folky pop number that highlights Brandi’s lovely voice. ‘That Wasn’t Me’ is a soulful gospel lament that soothes you with one of the best choruses on the record. The pop rock ballad, ‘100’ has one of the weaker vocal melodies on the album but everything else in the song is so well crafted that you’re bound to enjoy it.
‘Rise again’ starts with a groovy drum beat, folksy mandolin and soul filled backing vocals but morphs into a tasty rock jam, laced with great lyrics and vocals. Brandi and her cohorts spread their palette on ‘Just Kids’ which is atmospheric and lengthy, exploring age and the changes it brings. The song sounds like a farewell and is an apt closing track.
The entire album has a rich, warm tone and despite its retro sound, feels real and genuine. It might have too few standout tracks to make it a truly compelling work but ‘Bear Creek’ is a solid record that deserves plenty of praise.