Album Review – Heaven By The Back Door by Wojtek The Bear (2021) (Last Night From Glasgow)
In this COVID landscape, the CEO of the organisation I am employed by, signs off every ‘latest retrenchments’ meeting, imploring us to seek help via our employee assistance practitioners, should we feel the onset of unbearable levels of stress. Whilst I am not there yet, I do find that I am seeking solace in the smoother, less obtrusive, realms of jangly pop as my subsconsious way of dealing with the stress my ego refuses to outwardly display.
This Wojtek The Bear album is perfect for me in such times. Drifting through ten tracks of languid, melodic-pop, that simply croons and swoons in the hushed tones of that favourite confidante, who always seems to know exactly what to say and when.
The best of the album is lead by Ferme Le Bouche, Paper Talk, Luck or Design and Fear Less. All of these just feel like an absolute celebration of the sort of sophisticated, jangly guitar-pop, that was so perfectly proffered by fellow Scots like the Aztec Camera and the mid 90’s Edwyn Collins solo work, whilst also assuming inferences of the early 80s polished sounds of Liverpudlian acts such as Candy Opera and The Pale Fountains. Cool, almost complacent beauty, imbued by orchestral and string flourishes, this is the confident sound of a sense of assuredness that is so absent in the current climate.
Slightly more challenging, but only due to the somewhat disparate nuance shift towards a more twee-pop aesthetic, The Tide That Won’t Come Back and Heaven By The Back Door invite Belle and Sebastian comparisons that ultimately flounder due to the magificence of a perfectly schmaltzy sophisti-pop augmentation.
With consistently brilliant releases like this album, This Glaswegian quintet are doing as much as any act to ensure that the City will always remain so important to the annals of guitar-pop history.