Single Review: Bear’s Den – Auld Wives

By on Wednesday, 22nd June 2016 at 12:00 pm

Bear’s Den singer and lyricist Andrew Davie has never been one to shy away from tackling heavy themes in his songwriting. The songs on the band’s debut album ‘Islands’ dealt with subject matter ranging from platonic love and illusions of afterlife to strained parent-child relationships and bitter romantic break-ups. In ‘Auld Wives’, the first single from Bear’s Den’s upcoming second LP, Davie picks up exactly where he left off, with a song about the heartbreaking process of slowly losing a loved one to dementia.

The song’s title comes from a Scottish landmark near the home of Davie’s grandparents, the rock formation known as Auld Wives’ Lifts. “No one knows how they got there,” explains Davie, “and there are faces carved into the rocks. There’s all sorts of folk tales around them.” The song ‘Auld Wives’ is about Davie’s grandfather, who lived near the Lifts. “He developed Alzheimer’s in his old age. Knowing someone, and them not knowing you any more, is a difficult thing to go through. Auld Wives became this way of talking about it, of venting about that feeling.”

In the absence of former bandmate Joey Haynes, who left Bear’s Den on friendly terms, Davie and multi-instrumentalist Kev Jones appear to have drastically streamlined the expansive alt-folk character of the original trio. While their foundational melodic structures and vocal harmonies still serve to realise Davie’s evocative lyrical imagery, ‘Auld Wives’ has a distinctly edgy, more synthetic overall sound and a noticeably darker tone quality in the orchestration that what we’ve heard from Bear’s Den in the past. The equally powerful video for ‘Auld Wives’, which you can view just below, masterfully captures Davie’s poignant lyrics and the palpable dramatic tension of the musical arrangement.


‘Auld Wives’ is the first single from Bear’s Den’s forthcoming second album ‘Red Earth & Pouring Rain’, due out on the 22nd of July via Communion / Caroline International. Bear’s Den will play a run of live dates in the UK this November; you can find the details here. TGTF’s complete previous coverage of Bear’s Den is this way.


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One Response

8:23 pm
7th August 2016

Love Bear’s Den’s new album….it’s filled w/beautiful and timeless music! My cousin told me about them, I listened and LOVED THE ENTIRE ALBUM, Red Earth and the Pouring Rain….great lyrics and beautiful voices!

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