Bear and the Barbed Wire
"Such a pleasure to hear this record. It feels like a gutsy, stripped-back departure for the St.
John’s legend best known for frenetic and fiery alt-rock. There are still danceable jams, delivered with the calamity and humour we’ve come to expect from Mark, yet even through these, there’s a renewed calmness, a clarity, the words measured to be heard and felt. It feels crafted carefully, yet still so free. Indeed the whole thing is a study in contrasts - it manages to be delicate yet gruff, sad yet playful, humble yet grand, all at the same time. There’s flashes of rock ballad masters: Springsteen, Bon Jovi, Tom Waits, Neil Young; but under all that, its unmistakably Mark Bragg: squinting sideways at the heartbreak and violence of life, somehow with a grimace and a grin and a tear in his eye all at once. A treat to hear new music from a commanding local voice who hasn’t been heard from for awhile, but who has clearly been growing stronger in the dark. A bear come through “Winter” say, hungry for spring. Congrats." - Tim Baker, Hey Rosetta