Taking their name from one of New Jersey’s most important resources of the 18th and 19th centuries, Bog Iron Bloom are an art-folk collective that, according to the band’s Facebook page, “draws members from all across the Garden State and denounces any centralized location.” The band’s combination of acoustic guitar, bass, and drum with strings results in an acoustic almost prog rock, featuring some fine musicianship and complex arrangements.
The collection’s four middle tracks — bookended by two instrumentals that, in turn, preview and sum up the rest of the EP — are heavy on metaphor. The songs, all written by lyricist Matthew Brown, deal with themes of rebirth (“Hatch”), emotional fragility (“Paraffin People”), and the experience of living (“Concrete Hands”). “Myth” illustrates the reining in of humanity’s wild tendencies with some Roman deities doing some out of character things: “Ares signed a treaty,” “Neptune is coming up for air.”
Welcome to Bears is an interesting introduction to a formidable group of New Jersey musicians. The band’s name recalls New Jersey’s history, and the EP’s references to nature and Roman mythology allude to the distant past. Bog Iron Bloom also eschews many modern effects or recording tricks, but Welcome to Bears isn’t a period piece. Instead, the songwriting serves to take the record out of any specific time period; and the straightforward recording gives the feel of experiencing the band play these songs live.
You can check out Bog Iron Bloom when they perform with Jackson’s Thomas Wesley Stern at Langosta Lounge on October 12th.