The first thing that grabs you about ‘Olive Tree’, the new single from Largs’ trio Brown Bear & the Bandits, is a gorgeous warm, shimmering guitar figure that seems to crystallise out of nowhere and hang in the air in front of you.
Like all the best pop songs it’s a melody that instantly sounds familiar; wheedling its way into the back of your brain within just a few bars.
It’s undoubted earworm potential however is effortlessly matched by the trio’s easy charm and a strong lyrical sentiment (“it’s with the heaviest of hearts I say/I’ll see you in heaven”) that juxtaposes emotional weight against the purity of the melodic hook.
Despite the lyrical concerns there’s a breezy American feel to the track reminiscent of John Mayer or Ryan Adams’ ‘Gold’ that marks them out from the toil and grind of many of their Scottish peers.
At less than three minutes it’s structurally short but sweet, though the trio could have developed it further with a more ambitious bridge/outro.
‘Olive Tree’ is not the sound of revolutionary musical outlaws but Brown Bear & the Bandits are still flourishing into something beautiful.
Words: Max Sefton