Anyone who has seen Australia’s Boy & Bear perform will attest to their power as a live outfit – tight snaking rhythms, silky harmonies and intense instrumentals all propel the group’s shows to a level few modern bands can match. It’s not surprising then that, when the time came to return to the studio for the follow up to 2013’s Harlequin Dream (#1 charting and Platinum-selling in Australia), Boy & Bear decided to make the most of their well honed performance chops, cutting their third album the old fashioned way – live to tape, with almost no overdubs or editing.
“Sometimes we only did two takes, and the most I think we did was ten,” explains frontman Dave Hosking, who recorded his vocals live with the band, something almost unheard of these days. “There are still a few overdubs – a bit of percussion and that sort of thing, but it was very selective. We’ve learned that sometimes, the more you put in, the smaller the song sounds. We didn’t want that this time.”
Recorded in the inspirational surroundings of Peter Gabriel’s Real World Studio – an open plan room filled with an abundance of natural light and space – Limit of Love captures a band at the height of their powers, both as performers and composers. Under the careful guidance of esteemed producer Ethan Johns (Ryan Adams, Kings of Leon, Kaiser Chiefs), Boy & Bear have crafted a collection of tunes bristling with energy and integrity. The live tracking approach – of which Johns is a huge advocate – highlights the magic of real musicians interacting together, making for an album that feels human and honest. Cut straight to 2-inch tape, there were no computers to hide behind – even Johns’ mix-down was done the old fashioned way, without automation, just hands on faders, a live performance in itself. And underpinning that approach was the core philosophy behind Limit of Love – worrying less about things being perfect, and more about them feeling good.
Limit of Love is Boy & Bear, captured in all their naked glory – honest, open and irresistible.