Australian indie collective Boy & Bear have enjoyed considerable success since their beginnings back in 2009—especially “down under,” where they were championed early by national tastemaker Triple J radio. Their debut album, Moonrise, was certified ARIA double platinum, and both of their last two releases, Harlequin Dream and Limit of Love, charted at #1 in their native country.
The band’s brand of folk-rock—boot-stomping acoustic-oriented numbers that would satisfy any Mumford fan—feature anthemic, gale-force harmonies, a helping of banjo and mandolin, and alt-rock-sanctioned electric guitar textures which recall everyone from Fleetwood Mac to The Smiths to Midlake.
“Fall at Your Feet,” from Crowded House’s 1991 record Woodface, is one of Neil Finn’s most-covered songs—everyone from English pop star James Blunt to Canadian flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook has done it, and it’s even showed up on “Australian Idol.”
Boy & Bear’s version is a sparse, subdued affair, beginning with a graceful banjo figure and progressing to a piano-driven arrangement that allows ample room for the band’s rich vocals to dominate attention. Over two minutes pass before any percussion is given much role, and while the song briefly hints at electric guitar fury, it returns quickly to quietude, collapsing into a sudden, almost vacant conclusion—a lone voice dying away with the reverb trails. It’s a novel and compelling interpretation.
The song was recorded for 2010’s He Will Have His Way, a tribute album to the Finn brothers.